In perhaps the first of its kind, a member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday has moved a private members’ Bill, the Menstruation Benefit Bill, 2017. The bill by Congress MP Ninong Ering has suggested that women who are working in private or public sectors get two days of paid menstrual leave each month, Business Standard said.
In Lok Sabha last week, Ering had asked a question on whether the government has any plan to propose menstrual leave at the workplace. In its reply, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said there was no such proposal and also the ministry did not have any plan for a legislation on the issue. The ministry, however, listed a number of awareness efforts for adolescent girls.
In July last year, a Mumbai-based company Culture Machine took an initiative in this matter and 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 has granted the first and second day of menstruation as paid leaves under its Labour Act of 1948, Japan gas 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 the dip in the financial year 2015-16.