Q. Why is this in News?
A. The Supreme Court of India rejected a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) regarding menstrual leave for workers and students across the country.
- The court called it a policy matter and pointed out that menstrual pain leave has different dimensions and may also act as a disincentive for employers from engaging female employees.
Q. What Kind of Menstrual Leave Policies are in Place Globally?
- Menstrual leave or period leave refers to all policies that allow employees or students to take time off when they are experiencing menstrual pain or discomfort.
- Countries Promoting Menstrual Leaves:
- Spain, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Zambia, South Korea and Vietnam.
- Spain has become the first European country to grant paid menstrual leave to workers, with the right to three days of menstrual leave per month, which can be expanded to five days.
Q. What Attempts for Menstrual Leaves are Being Made in India?
- Some companies in India have introduced menstrual leave policies, including Zomato, which announced a 10-day paid period leave per year in 2020.
- Other companies, such as Swiggy and Byjus, have also followed suit.
- Bihar and Kerala are the only Indian states that have introduced menstrual leave policies for women.
- Bihar's policy was introduced in 1992, allowing employees two days of paid menstrual leave every month.
- Kerala recently announced that the state's higher education department will grant menstrual and maternity leaves for students in universities under the department, and a Kerala school has also introduced a similar system.
Q. What are the Legislative Measures Being Taken Regarding Menstrual Leaves?
- Attempts Made in the Past:
- Parliament has seen attempts to introduce menstrual leave and menstrual health products bills, but they have not been successful so far.
- Example: The Menstruation Benefits Bill, 2017’ and Women’s Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill in 2018.
- Right of Women to Menstrual Leave and Free Access to Menstrual Health Products Bill, 2022:
- The proposed Bill provides for three days of paid leave for women and transwomen during the period of menstruation and seeks to extend the benefit for students.
The Bill cites research that indicates that approximately 40% of girls miss school during their periods, and nearly 65% said it had an impact on their daily activities at school.