Several countries have introduced a menstrual leave provision for their employees. As early as 1947, Japan passed a law allowing women with debilitating periods to take days off. Similarly, in South Korea, women were granted menstrual leave from the year 2001 onwards. Companies like Nike have also adopted similar policies.
While not commonly known, in India, the Bihar Government has been offering two days of period leave to women employees since 1992. Women can decide which two days of the month they would like to take off without having to provide any justification for doing so. In the recent past, a handful of private companies like the Mumbai-based media firm, Culture Machine, have also started offering menstrual leave.
Those who are not in favour of the policy argue that it will only prejudice employers against hiring women and lead to their alienation at work.
They also believe that most women are capable of functioning at full capacity even during their periods and for the handful of women who do suffer debilitating symptoms, the existing sick leave option is adequate.
Some have even cited the example of Serena Williams who won a major tournament while she was pregnant highlighting that women do not need any “special” treatment.
Another concern that has been voiced on social media is that menstrual leave policies might discriminate against men as women would get additional days off every year.
Source: The Hindu Business Line