Published On: Tue, Mar 8th, 2016

Centre mulling period leave for women employees

New Delhi: The central government is considering a proposal to introduce menstrual leave in central government offices.

The Central government is mulling implementing a “period leave” that would allow its women  emloyees with difficult or painful menstrual cycles to take time off work.

The Central government is mulling implementing a “period leave” that would allow its women employees with difficult or painful menstrual cycles to take time off work.

“A proposal is under consideration to introduce period leave, that is likely to allow women employees to take at least two days menstrual leave per month in addition to other existing leaves,” a Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) official told us but he requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

He also said that Japan introduced a similar policy almost seven decades ago in 1947 and became the first country to grant leave to female workers who “suffered heavily” with period pains or performed work deemed “injurious” to their health during menstruation.

South Korea also introduced a law in 2001 that allows women to take one day of menstrual leave per month.

So many countries in the world like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have already adopted paid period leave policy. A Bristol company in Britain recently introduced menstrual leave.

In our country, Bihar government has been following this policy in several departments from the past two decades.

As per their Human Resource guidelines available online, ‘All women staff is eligible to avail two days of special leave every month because of biological reason. This is in addition to all the other eligible leaves.’

Most women have suffered through the agony of having to sit at work doubled over their desk while their uterus twists itself into knots. They will regularly glance at the clock to check how safe it is to take the next dose of painkillers to try and dull the stabbing pain.

A female colleague might look at her knowingly, but this is something most women don’t talk about openly; they only whisper of their pain through clenched teeth.

Studies vary, but period pain or dysmenorrhea affects an estimated nine out of 10 women, according to a study and can be severe enough to interfere with a woman’s ability to function normally.

In fact, new research by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says menstrual pain can be as painful as a heart attack. The symptoms include depression, bloating, migraines and even vomiting.

Hence, the central government is mulling to offer period leave to its women staff members.

However, the main question to ponder upon here is period leave could not lead to sexual harassment.

If any woman employee take menstrual leave, she is basically broadcasting to the entire office which days of the month she has her period.

It’s not the sort of thing she wants to share with male colleagues, and it could lead to sexual harassment.

Accordingly, The government is likely to hold discussions with the National Commission for Women in this regard, the official informed us.


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