Topic for Discussion - Introduction of Menstrual Leave - CiteHR
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Rahul Chhabra
Hr Professional
Nathrao
Insolvency N Gst Professional

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Dear all,
On one of the WA groups of HR, Administrator of the groups, Mr Rajaram Thorve, has raised the topic for discussion on Introduction of Menstrual Leave. He has raised the following questions:
Q. 1 Should PERIOD LEAVE be given to female employees by all organizations?
Q. 2 Is it not awkward to keep track on menstruation cycles as it is their privacy issue?
Q. 3 Who will maintain the record to be able to give this leave as there are possibilities of misuse of this leave?
Q 4 Is it fair to give special benefits/treatment when we talk about equality?
Q 5 Doesn't it impact on weakening them by asking /giving special benefits/treatment?
Q 6 Should sanitary pads and medication be welcome in place of PERIOD LEAVE?
I have given replies to the questions. These are as below:
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Dear Mr Rajaram Thorve,
My replies to your questions are given below.
Q. 1 Should PERIOD LEAVE be given to female employees by all organizations?
Reply: - Please note the following:
a) If you browse internet, you will find that two companies have already introduced the menstrual leave in their companies. One is Culture Machine from Mumbai and another is a digital marketing organisation called Gozoop.
b) The Menstruation Benefit Bill has been tabled by a private member, Ninong Ering. Since last couple of years, India’s parliament has been functioning sketchily or patchily. Passing regular bills approved by the union council of ministers itself is a challenge. Against this backdrop, we do not know when the private bill will be taken up for discussion or whether it will be taken up for discussion at all.
c) India's female workforce participation is the lowest in the world.
d) Females were only 25.8% of the workforce in India in FY16.
e) During menstrual cycle, few women suffer badly whereas for few others, it is a manageable day.
Q. 2 Is it not awkward to keep track on menstruation cycles as it is their privacy issue?
Q. 3 Who will maintain the record to be able to give this leave as there are possibilities of misuse of this leave?
Reply: - Reply to both the questions is clubbed together. Awkward or otherwise, any leave has to be tracked and this leave is no exception. Secondly, HR maintains records of all types of leave and this leave will be no exception.
Yes, there is a possibility of misuse. However, few companies provide medical leave to their employees. Is there not a misuse of this leave? The women who do not suffer severely will also prefer sitting at home.
Q 4 Is it fair to give special benefits/treatment when we talk about equality?
Q 5 Doesn't it impact on weakening them by asking /giving special benefits/treatment?
Reply: - Reply to both the questions is clubbed together. It should be left to the women to decide whether they would like to have this kind of benefit. Nevertheless, this type of leave facility is extended because nature is unfavourable to the womenfolk as they undergo a cycle of pain each month. Menstrual leave is being proposed to redress the nature’s imbalance.
Nature’s imbalance or otherwise, women sportspersons continue with their sports practice even during these days also. It remains to be seen how they manage their participation in sports events or tournaments.
One pertinent question arises is votaries of this leave, whether they are men or women, how many of them grant this leave to their maid(s)? While batting for this leave, they can introduce this leave to their maids on their own. There are cases wherein few women frown even at the weekly offs of their maids. Therefore, extension of this leave is far-fetched.
Q 6 Should sanitary pads and medication be welcome in place of PERIOD LEAVE?
Reply: - There are agencies that install machines that dispense the sanitary pads when the coin or a note is inserted. These machines are installed in the women toilets. Secondly, since not all women suffer because of the pain, medical education may be given to the selected few on how to keep under check this monthly challenge.
Additional comments: - These are as below:
Cost Implications: - Before extending this leave, it is important to study cost implications. Suppose average company has workforce of 250 persons.
Of these, suppose 40% or 100 are women.
Suppose a day’s menstrual leave per month is granted to each woman.
Therefore, each woman will avail of 12 days or 100 women will avail of 1,200 days leave in a year.
Assuming that each month has 26 working days, it can be said that 1,200/26 = 46.15 months are consumed because of this leave.
46.15 month’s salary is approximately 4 year’s salary of a woman.
How many companies can afford this? Will this leave work contrary to the employment of women at work?
Final Comments: - Notwithstanding the above calculation, it is a plain truth that today organisation’s have lean manpower. Against this backdrop, sparing even a day is difficult. There are organisations wherein taking regular leave itself is a challenge.
Extending this type of leave is difficult in retail companies, airlines, hospitals etc. It is possible to provide this leave in large factories like garment factories where work is repetitive and women workforce is large. In IT companies where the work is project-based, it is possible to extend this leave.
If because of this leave, if menfolk are required to work extra, it could demotivate them. How to avoid this demotivation arising out of extra work that employers have to think well in advance.
Who needs this leave most?: - Women working as farm labourers, construction workers do arduous jobs. They need this leave most. However, problem with them is that they all are perennially casual workers. Whatever reason might be, when a worker absents from her work, her salary is deducted. Physical pain notwithstanding, to avoid salary deduction, these women report for the duty. Let us think more about them!
Thanks,
Dinesh Divekar

Replies by learned member Shri Dinesh cover all aspects of this interesting question.
However I would add that companies are already worried about 26 weeks Maternity Leave and avoid hiring women due to extra cost.
https://www.theguardian.com/money/20...aternity-leave
https://www.businessinsider.in/india...w/64749016.cms
This defeats the very purpose for which certain entitlements were given to women as a class.
These privileges are needed to boost women welfare.
The addition of Menstrual leave would further inflame minds/thought processes of cost conscious companies and may reduce the hiring of women.

A good read in fact! Thanks for the contribution.
On a lighter note, i recently got married. My wife got more than 30 days of leave while i could only avail 5 days of leave for my marriage! The entire thing (i mean only the arrangement bit) was chaotic and this has got me thinking that "Marriage Leave" should be a legislative act too just like MBA in India, restricting the benefits of the act up to only one marriage in a lifetime :D

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