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Menstrual Leave Policy

In this article, we discuss the significance and need for separate menstrual leave in organizations, besides examining its extent its extent legal positions in INDIA and across other jurisdictions. It being an inevitable natural phenomenon for women, which is menstruation. Menstruation or what in a common parlance termed as period is till date considered a taboo in society, besides carrying an inexplainable stigma.

Menstrual leave enables a person to take time off from work when period symptoms make it difficult to perform work tasks. For some people, pelvic pain can be debilitating and affect work productivity.
  • Menstrual leave refers to a specific form of time off for those who experience period pains.
  • It recommends that workers be given leave from work while menstruating, just as they would for any illness.
  • But in INDIA, there is no legislative provision for menstrual leave.

Statement and the object of the reasons:
According to all reasearch which have been made in all past years approximately 40 per cent of girls miss school during their periods. The type of absorbent used, lack of privacy at school, restrictions imposed on girls During menstruation, the mother's education, and the source of menstrual information were all found to be important factors in school absenteeism. Nearly 65 per cent said its consequence and impact on their daily activities at school and that they had to skip class tests and lessons as a consequence of discomfort, anxiety, shame, and concerns about leakage and uniform discoloration.

While access to menstrual products is equal attention should be paid to the mental trauma that girls experience during their periods. Girls should receive comprehensive counselling on menstruation and other associated issues which are major and the person who feel this is easily able to understand the point.

The need is to ensure that all who crosses the age of menarche may avail paid leaveve for three days for working women and three days of leave with attendance and Compensation of academic activities for girl students who menstruate. It is also required that access to menstrual products, at no cost shall be available to them as and when required. It is intended to remove any barriers which stop women, girls and trans people Accessing female health and hygiene products � items which are essential to the health, Hygiene and wellbeing of those who has crossed menarche till the period of menopause.

Smriti Irani, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development made headlines on Wednesday, December 13 ,2023, by expressing her disagreement with the idea of 'paid menstruation leave'. She emphasized that menstruation in her view should not be regarded as a handicap hence should not warrant a paid leave policy. In response to a query from Rastriya Janta Dal (RJD) member Manoj Kumar Jha regarding menstrual hygiene policy, Irani shared her perspective, stating, As someone who experiences menstruation, I don't see it as a handicap, it's a natural process and apart of a woman's life journey. Proposals should not be made that deny women equal opportunities simply because someone's who doesn.t experience menstruation has a particular viewpoint towards it. However, this isn't the first instance in India where the concept of menstrual leave has been met the opposition.

On the February 2024, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL about menstrual leave for workers and students across the country, calling it a policy matter. It highlighted that their different dimensions to menstrual pain leave, and also that while menstruation was a biological process, such leave may also act as a incentive for employers from engaging female employees.

A few Indian states too implemented such policies. Bihar started and then Kerala took a step on January 19,2023, by issuing an order for menstrual leave in all state-run higher education institutes.
Menstrual leave in India is crucial for addressing menstrual stigma and promoting gender equality in the workplace and society.

Here is the bill that regulate the women rights on the menstruation leave policy matter:

The Right Of Women To Menstrual Leave And Free Access To Menstrual Health Products Bill, 2022
Statements objects and reasons of the bill that is passed in 2022 is:
The idea behind the proposed bill is that certain circumstances makes access to sanitary products difficult for women and trans people.The bill provide the novel and idea of the type of leave where women have the option of taking the paid leave for three days from their workplace during the period of menstruation.

  • Our Constitution is always concerned about the protection of the vulnerable as it;
  • Is committed to the principle of inclusiveness. Prioritising women's health and safety is the Primary sign of a civilized and egalitarian society.
  • The concept of menstrual leave is an expansion of article 21, the right to life under The constitution of India; one should not be expected to work during menstruation, because Of the menstrual pains, and the body being weak and vulnerable, basic sanitation problems Like lack of proper sanitary facilities, lack of clean, safe, and private facilities for women, And lack of adequate menstruation alternatives result in the infringement of their basic right to health and also human right to health.
  • In a country where the word menstruation is met with raised eyebrows, a case for menstrual leave policy faces several challenges arguments.
  • WHY do we all suddenly need to provide them with menstrual leave?
  • This is even more problematic because it has been normalized for women to do that or probably eat a Meftal -spas (a pain -relieving medicine) to prove that they are equally productive to their male counterparts.
  • If menstrual leave comes into the picture, more organizations will further restrain from hiring women. Organizations across the globe already had enough Reasons not to hire women.

Case Examples:

Countries with Menstrual Leave Policies:

  • Japan: Some companies in Japan offer menstrual leave, although it's not a national law.
  • South Korea: Certain companies provide menstrual leave, and there have been discussions about making it a legal requirement.
  • Indonesia: The country introduced a menstrual leave policy in 1948, allowing women to take two days off per month for painful periods.

Companies with Menstrual Leave Policies

  • Nike: In 2007, Nike implemented menstrual leave in their code of conduct for suppliers.
  • Zomato: This Indian food delivery company announced a period leave policy in 2020, allowing employees to take up to 10 days of period leave per year.
  • Coexist: A UK-based community interest company introduced a period policy in 2016, allowing women to take time off during their periods.

Pros and Cons


  • Supports Health: Recognizes and supports women's health needs.
  • Productivity: Can improve productivity by allowing employees to rest when they need to.
  • Equality: Helps address gender equality issues in the workplace.


  • Stigma: Some worry it could reinforce stereotypes or lead to stigma against women in the workplace.
  • Abuse: Concerns about potential abuse of the policy, such as taking leave when not needed.
  • Implementation: Can be challenging to implement fairly and without discrimination.

Legal Considerations

  • Legislation: Some countries, like Taiwan and Zambia, have laws that require employers to provide menstrual leave.
  • Entitlement: In places without specific laws, some women may still be entitled to sick leave or other forms of leave for menstrual-related health issues.

Implementation Challenges

  • Menstrual Tracking: Implementing such policies might require employees to track their menstrual cycles, which can be sensitive and intrusive.
  • Privacy: Ensuring privacy and confidentiality in the application process to avoid potential embarrassment or discrimination.

Alternative Approaches

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Some companies opt for flexible work arrangements instead of specific menstrual leave, allowing employees to adjust their schedules or work from home.
  • Menstrual Support: Providing menstrual products and comfortable spaces for employees can also be part of supporting women's health without a specific leave policy.

Employee Feedback

  • Surveys and Feedback: Many companies conduct surveys or collect feedback from employees to understand their needs and preferences regarding menstrual health and leave policies.
  • Advocacy: Employee advocacy groups and women's rights organizations often push for better policies and support for menstrual health in the workplace.

Cultural Differences

  • Acceptance: Acceptance and implementation of menstrual leave policies can vary widely based on cultural norms and attitudes towards menstruation.
  • Global Trends: As awareness of menstrual health grows globally, more companies and countries are considering or implementing such policies.

Menstrual leave can prevent a person from feeling pressure to work when experiencing severe pain and other symptoms associated with a monthly period .This Can permit time a rest and recover .
Benefits may involve normalising menstruation discussions and reserving medical leave for no menstrual health conditions.To advocate for such policies people can approach their boss with a concise description of their menstrual symptoms and request specific accommodation.

To improve the effectiveness and fairness of menstrual leave policies, several changes and considerations could be implemented:
  1. Education and Awareness:
    • Training: Provide training for managers and employees on menstrual health and the importance of supportive policies.
    • Awareness Campaigns: Conduct campaigns to reduce stigma and raise awareness about menstruation in the workplace.
  2. Flexible Policies:
    • Flexible Leave: Offer flexible leave options, allowing employees to use sick leave or other available leave for menstrual health needs.
    • Flexible Work Hours: Implement flexible work hours or remote work options during menstruation.
  3. Transparent Guidelines:
    • Clear Guidelines: Ensure clear and transparent guidelines on how to request menstrual leave, without invasive requirements.
    • Privacy: Respect employees' privacy when requesting leave for menstrual health reasons.
  4. Employee Feedback:
    • Surveys: Regularly gather feedback from employees on the effectiveness of the policy and areas for improvement.
    • Employee Resource Groups: Establish support groups or committees to advocate for women's health issues in the workplace.
  5. Holistic Support:
    • Menstrual Products: Provide free or subsidized menstrual products in workplace bathrooms.
    • Health Resources: Offer access to health resources, such as counseling or support groups for menstrual health.
  6. Inclusive Policies:
    • Gender-Neutral Policies: Ensure policies are inclusive of all employees, regardless of gender identity.
    • Extended Leave: Consider extending leave options for those with particularly severe menstrual symptoms or conditions like endometriosis.
  7. Legal Protections:
    • Legal Compliance: Ensure compliance with local labor laws regarding menstrual leave.
    • Advocacy: Advocate for national or regional legislation supporting menstrual leave to ensure consistency across industries.
  8. Monitoring and Evaluation:
    • Regular Evaluation: Continuously assess the impact and effectiveness of the policy through data collection and analysis.
    • Adjustments: Be open to making adjustments based on feedback and evolving understanding of employees' needs.
  9. Cultural Sensitivity:
    • Cultural Context: Consider cultural sensitivities when implementing policies, especially in diverse work environments.
    • Training: Cultural competency training for HR and management to ensure understanding and respect for diverse perspectives.
  10. Supportive Environment:
    • Supportive Culture: Foster a workplace culture that values and supports employees' well-being, including menstrual health.
    • Leadership Role: Leadership can set an example by openly discussing the importance of menstrual health and supportive policies.

There is a paucity of research that explores the ways in which menstrual leave may potentially benefit or disadvantage menstruators in the workplace but plenty is known about how gender oppression shapes perceptions of menstruators. As researchers explore the dimensions of menstrual leave policies, we recommend a number a consideration. Future research must be intersectional and attuned a diverse menstruator and varied menstrual experiences.

FoR EX: do coworkers construe a women's behavior differently and more negatively when she Assessing pros and cons of menstrual leave can save as an entry point to discussions about workplace culture and accommodations more generally.

Are sick leave and parental leave provision s sample?
In order of menstrual leave policies to be fully beneficial to mensturators well being cultural benefits about and attitudes towards it.

When severe symptoms make it difficult for a person to do their work It offers the time necessary to cope with symptoms, and recover before tackling work duties. Feeling rested can also make a person more productive when they return to work.

Alternatively, companies can support their employees with periods by reducing their hours and allowing them to work from home and This allows them to work in a more comfortable home environment where pain relief methods like medication and heat packs are easily accessible for them.

  • Period Leave: How Policies Can Support Menstruation at Work � Forbes
  • Should Your Company Offer Menstrual Leave? � SHRM
Research Papers:
  • Menstrual Leave: A Global Perspective � Health Equity
  • Menstrual Leave Policies in South Korea: An Exploratory Study of the Health and Work-Family Balance Effects � Women's Health Issues
  • Policy on Menstrual Leave: A Study � Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development

Written By: Sneha Swami - Faculty of Laws, Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila Vishwavidyalaya Sonipat

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