FemTech India

Indian Companies Breaking Stigma Barriers with Period Leave

September 14, 2022 By Editor

Period Leaves Explained!

It is still considered taboo to speak about periods of menstruation in most parts of the country. However, pockets of society are evolving and people are open to talking boldly about the topic. Some parts of society have become increasingly aware of the topic, that periods and menstruation have caught the attention of corporate employers who have recognised the need to grant leaves.

With so much bustle going on about period leave and menstruation leave, here is a quick summary of how period leave policies have started to become the new norm.

What is period leave?

Period leaves, also known as menstruation leaves, are options given to female employees, who can take paid or unpaid leaves from the workplace, whenever they are menstruating.

While it is universally acknowledged that menstruation causes some level of physical and emotional discomfort, such leaves are granted to employees to ensure that they take care of themselves during the period. Such leaves are also to encourage the employees to stay at home instead of travelling to work on the days of their periods.

While some employees and employers embrace the concept of period leaves with open arms, a few others see it as a means of reducing workplace efficiency. With the divided response, such leaves have been applauded by a few and have also irked a few!

Why do we need period leaves?
While every woman goes through the cycle, for some it is a smooth process. For a few others, it is associated with pain. The menstrual cycle involves a woman’s reproductive organs such as the ovaries, uterus, and brain. These organs, along with hormonal fluctuations, cause changes in the skin and hair, and also result in headaches, including migraines, stomach aches, and stomach and leg cramps, to name a few.

Not so surprisingly, despite a series of infrastructure and well-being measures introduced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, around 23 million girls drop out of the educational system due to poor Menstrual Hygiene Management Facilities.

What do countries across the globe feel?

Japanese law has boldly enforced a clause in its labour standards. The standards emphasise that female employee who is experiencing discomfort and have requested a leave should not work on the days of their menstrual periods. Indonesia has also given its female employees the right to take two days of menstrual leave per month. In a similar fashion, South Korea has also added a law to ensure that female employee are paid additionally if they do not take their period leaves. Taiwan has also granted three days of menstrual leaves per year, which is not calculated towards the 30 days of the common sick leave that the companies usually give. Zambia has also enforced the concept of menstrual leaves, which it calls “Mother’s Day. The country has also covered a law that says women employees can also legally prosecute their employer if they are denied such leaves.

India and its stand on Period Leave:

On a rather surprising note, Bihar was the first state in the country to introduce government-approved leaves for periods. Then, Head of State Lalu Prasad Yadav introduced 2 days of period leave each month. Also, Arunachal Pradesh MP – Ninong Ering introduced a bill in 2017, called “The Menstruation Benefits Bill’. The Bill stated that women, who were employed in both private and public establishments that were registered under the Central/and or State Government would be entitled to two days of menstrual leaves each month.

How are companies responding in India?

Indian companies are also positively responding to the concept of period leaves. Here is a roundup of some of the Indian companies which have vocally adopted and embraced the concept of Period Leaves.

Flipkart: Flipkart’s Period Leave policy allows female employees to take one additional leave per month in addition to their sick or casual leave.

Byju’s: The ed-tech company updated its leave policies to grant up to 12 days of Period Leaves in a year. Further, the company also permitted its employees to take them as 1 full-day in a month, or two half-days in a month, with one, leave being credited to each female employee every month.

Swiggy: Swiggy announced a concept of a “no-questions-asked” period leave policy. The policy offered a two-day paid monthly period of time off, ensuring that all of Swiggy’s female delivery partners were provided with a minimum earning so that they would take the leave without having a sense of hesitation about losing their pay.

Zomato: Zomato announced a maximum of 10 period leaves in a year. The then CEO of the company, Deepinder Goyal released an official announcement affirming the same.

iVIPANAN: The digital marketing firm announced period leaves a day after they learned about Zomato’s period policy on August 8, 2020.

Mathrubhumi: The publication giant announced its period leave policies in 2017, which encouraged women to either work from home or take a full day off on the day of their period.

Magzter: The Chennai-based company also rolled out it’s Period leave policy as early as 2017.

IndustryARC: The Hyderabad-based firm announced one to two days of paid monthly leave for periods.

Gozoop, Culture Machine, and FlyMyBiz were a few other companies in India which designed and rolled out Period Leaves.

In a world that is changing by each minute, speaking about periods or menstruation is no longer a guarded scenario. With the world opening at a rapid speed, companies are investing heavily to safeguard the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of their employees. One such measure is the concept of period leaves. With so many countries and with a host of companies in India openly advocating the concept of Period Leaves, it can be understood that more such wellness and wellbeing measures will be rolled out in the future!