Women Talk

Menstrual leave: Mandatory or a dream in India?

Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi filed PIL in Supreme Court seeking paid Menstrual leave

We are all aware of how difficult periods are and how much of a toll they can have on a woman’s body and mind. Many organizations provide paid Menstrual leave so that women can stay home and relax with loads of chocolate and a heating pad. Unfortunately, not all organizations have such rules for women. Following this, Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court asking for paid menstruation leaves for working women and female students nationwide.

The petition references a study of a College of London university. It claims the agony a woman during her period is comparable to the anguish a person feels during a heart attack. The petition claims that some Indian companies, including iVIPANAN, Zomato, Byju’s, Swiggy, Mathrubhumi, Magzter, ARC, FlyBizz, and Gozoop etc. give paid leaves in response to such suffering, which decreases an employee’s productivity and influences their work.

The petition further contended that period pain lowers productivity and added that while some states in India provide ancillary benefits  women during their periods but other states do not. These policies violates Article 14 because it discriminates against women.

“It is accordingly a violation of Article 14 inasmuch this Act differentiates women in the name of federalism and state policies. Despite that women suffer from similar physiological and health issues during their menstrual cycles, they are being treated differently in different states of India.”

Read more- Sneezing during Periods To Painful Heels, 16 Struggles Only A Woman Will Relate to

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor introduced the Women’s Sexual, Reproductive, and Menstrual Rights Bills in 2018, demanding facilitating access to sanitary pads for women in public facilities, and also referred to the Menstruation Benefits Bill 2017, introduced to the Legislative Assembly on the first day of the 2022 budget session but was ignored by the parliament terming it as an “unclean” topic.

The petition criticized the action and argued that it demonstrates a lack of legislative will to discuss paid period pain leaves. The PIL also emphasized how other nations like China, Japan, Indonesia, Spain, and the UK, provide menstruation pain relief in one way or another.

“The United Kingdom, Wales, China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Spain, and Zambia are already providing with menstrual pain leave in one form or the other. Delhi High Court directed center and Delhi Government to consider PIL seeking menstrual leave as representation. Union Minister Smt. Smriti Irani, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, said that the “Central Civil Service (Leave) Rules, 1972 applicable to Central government employees, do not have any provisions for menstrual leave, and currently there is no proposal being examined to include such leave in the rules.”

The Menstrual Benefit Bill was introduced to the Lok Sabha in 2017 as a private member’s bill by Arunachal Pradesh’s Lok Sabha MP Ninong Ering. The bill, which proposed two days of paid menstrual leave for working women in the public and private sectors. Female students highlighted the difficulties women face on the first two days of their periods citing a study by the University of London.

It also aimed to provide facilities for women to take breaks at work during their periods. The law makes the case that companies and women gain from menstrual leave.

Women working with their period must be granted paid leave because their physical state calls for rest. Workplaces usually have a poor understanding of how the menstruation cycle works. Not all women can bear the pain of their periods while maintaining a professional facade and showing up at work. It’s a fact that many women suffer physical sluggishness and psychological fluctuations during their periods.

In this patriarchal society will women get menstruation leave or it will remain a dream in India?

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Tamkeenat Rose

A hodophiIe shutterbug and I am here to tell you interesting stories backed with proper information.
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