Globally, the working environment and work culture been constantly changing. The
employers are adopting new dynamics for best practices. The new world of
professionalism is inter alia driven by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and
Environmental, social and corporate Governance practice.
practicing their best efforts to adopt dynamic circumstances and progressive
practices to accommodate a diverse workforce. Organizations have also
implemented modification of infrastructure, and grievance redressal mechanism
and implementing several others initiative to address barriers that may arise on
account of gender bias. Menstruation is one of the phenomena every woman is
facing in day to day life. And it is also termed as unexplainable stigma.
In India the women workforce participation is lowest in the world according to
recent studies from International Labour Organization in this regard there must
be a new policy to address this issue.
Demand of separate menstrual leave
Many of the women are experience physical discomfort and pain during their
menstrual cycle. This involves hormonal variations in body which results
emotions. During such period women may face and find difficult to maintain
consistent level of productivity in work place. Many women also suffer from
disorders related to menstruation such ovarian cysts, endometriosis,
dysmenorrheal, in view of the same; the concept of menstrual leave remains a
highly neglected issue in India.
According to statute of labour laws the menstruation leave is not considered and
also not regulated. It may be considered as special leave that an employer may
grant or offer to female employees on account of experience discomfort at work
place. And employees can claim different categories of leaves like earned,
casual, and sick leaves. And there would possibilities that, women may losing
her professional benefits under the stigma of menstruation. Hence there would be
need of in introduction of menstrual leave and also promote healthy discussions
around menstruation, but will also ensure sensitization of the workforce and
society at large.
If the employers are given leave facility for women workers it would be more
benefit and also the productivity shall be increases with more focus on
professional assignments. If the employer formulate these policies under
employment rules it would be more concern to the employees. There are different
arguments like women are getting more benefits in workplace why the separate
menstruation leaves need to implement in work place. Menstruation is a
biological process this is totally different from disese. This is the time to
accommodate and support women needs where necessary. With respect to
professional commitments are concerned.
Menstrual leave and law
Globally the concept of menstruation leaves are under remote topic. But few
countries in this world have law Ex. Japan in 1947 framed a statute that an
employer to allow a woman employee to avail leave on days of the menstrual cycle
as and when requested.
In Indonesian labour law enforce corporation to provide minimum two days leaves
for women who is facing physical pain during menstruation or dates times. South
Korean law provides one day paid leave for women employees at the time of
menstruation period. The same system in Taiwan that every female employee can
seek one day leave at the time of period, that will be deduct from sick leaves.
In Zambia also the female employees can seek period days leave without providing
any medical certificate in that regard. In European countries the first country
Spain has executed first law for menstrual leave on production of doctors note.
At present the Indian labour laws not directly expressing paid/unpaid leave on
account of menstruation. But the states have power to implement such schemes for
empowerment of women employees. Ex. Bihar government in 1992 under Bihar Vikas
Mission under this schmes special leave for women employees. Before the India
independence 1912, a government school in Kerala provided menstrual leave to its
students during their annual examination and permitted them to attempt the same
at later stage.
In 2017, a private member of parliament was introduced bill before the
parliament of India, Lok Sabha by Mr. Ninong Ering (a former Lok Sabha Member of
Parliament From Arunachal Pradesh) the bill facilitated women employees for
menstrual leaves and also grievance redressal mechanism . but the bill was not
tabled for discussion. In 2022, the same been tabled at budget session at state
assembly, but the bill was withdrawn. Hence there is not legal position in this
regard in India.
Recently, the Minster of women and Child Development has, in the response to
question at LokSabha with regarding to implementation of menstrual leaves for
government women employees. And said that government has undertaken various
initiatives for raising awareness regarding menstrual hygine and health.
In January 2023, a public Interest Litigation was filed before the SC,
seeking directing to all states to implement menstrual leave policies for
students and as well as women employees under the Maternity benefit Act, 1961.
However the PIL been disposed and asked the petitioner to submit representation
to Union Minister of Women and Child Development which may take appropriate
decision in this regard.
Industrial position in India
According present scenery there is particular law is governed menstruation
leaves in India. The organization have free to independently take a decision and
contractually extended more beneficial terms of employment than those provided
under the applicable legal provisions. With respect to Indian industries and
owners are implementing internal protocols to employees' wellness and extending
benefits including menstrual leaves for their employees.
Ex: the Mumbai based
News company announced a policy of offering leave to women of their period. The
food delivery company Zomato also adopted such policy of menstrual leave. BY
JU'S the education technology sector updated its leave policy. Some of the
companies have also adopted new policies of providing of sanitary pads at a
nominal rate at their premises for their employees.
From decade's women employees are facing menstruation stigma. Implementation of
menstrual leave is a meaningful step towards female employees. It is an
obligation on organization to create hygiene, and safe environment for women
employees in this regards many organizations have extended menstrual leave
benefits. The organizations policies may changes from time to time hence the
government has made compulsory menstrual policy for all organization, it would
reaches to more no of women employees in this nation.
Written By: Mahantesh B Madiwalar
- https://feminisminindia.com/2023/03/06/ site visited on 24/7/2023.
- Anushal Prakash, "Looking beyond the Law: The Case of Menstrual Leave in India" Practical Lawyer PP. 67-70 Apr 2023.
- Shailendra Mani Tripathi v. Union of India February 2023.
- Supra note 1 pp.69.
, Associate professor K L E Society's Law College, Bengaluru.