From our correspondent
Itanagar, Jan 3: Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering on Tuesday moved the Menstruation Benefit Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha, which was selected in the ballot and is likely to be presented in the next private members business.
The bill entitles women working as employees in any public or private organisation to two-days of paid menstrual leave every month. Further, the bill seeks to provide better facilities for rest at the workplace during menstruation.
Ering had, last week, sought a reply in the Lok Sabha from Ministry of Women and Child Development on provisions of the menstrual leave at the workplace. The ministry replied that there is no existing provision and no proposal to grant any menstrual leave or introduction of any legislation in this regard.
The ministry, however, listed a number of awareness efforts for adolescent girls.
On the Menstruation Benefit Bill, Ering said, “There had been frequent demands across India to further amend the labour laws in order to provide better working facilities to female employees. The Menstruation Leave movement has gained momentum across the nation and there had been intense demands to entitle women with paid leave during menstruation. Besides, there had been demands to provide intermediate breaks during menstruation in the working days and facilities for rest at the workplace in India.”
“A lot of women, media, and civil society organisations have begun addressing the difficulties associated with menstruation and demanding paid menstrual leave. The success of several campaigns and petitions launched for menstrual leave asserts that the movement is gaining fast momentum in India. A couple of companies in India have individually introduced the policy of paid Menstrual Leaves for their female employees,” Ering added.
A research conducted at University College London and published last year revealed that period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack”. Given the biological complexity of females and the intense pain they have to suffer, they shall have the right to be entitled with leave during menstruation. In addition, women are least productive during menstruation, especially on the first and the second days of the menstrual cycle due to unmanageable discomforts. Thus, it may not be much fruitful to the employers in terms of production. Therefore, with both the perspectives of the female employees as well as the employers, Menstrual Leave is desirable.
In July last year, a Mumbai-based company named Culture Machine started a ‘first day period leave policy’ for its female employees. Under this initiative, women could actually apply for leaves on ‘first day of the period.’ The company, which runs a YouTube channel, uploaded a video of the female staff being told of the policy and the way they reacted.
The company had also started an online petition, directed at the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development, to apply this policy across the country.
Across the globe too, a number of countries have started the practice of giving paid menstruation leave to female staff members to make them feel more comfortable at the workplace. The countries that have introduced similar laws include Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
While Indonesia granted the first and second day of menstruation as paid leaves under its Labour Act of 1948, Japan has offered this benefit for women since 1947. Last year in March, Italy was also considering whether to offer paid menstrual leave to its women workforce.
In a reply to Lok Sabha, Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar had stated that the female workforce in India has registered a dip in the financial year 2015-16.
From our correspondent