LEGISLATION ON PERIOD LEAVE IN INDIA: THE NEXT STEP TOWARDS WELFARE OF EMPLOYEES
By Antra Jha & Amisha Tiwari
With vast sections of the Indian society still not deeming menstruation a kosher topic for living room conversations, it came as no surprise that Zomato’s announcement of a paid period leave policy ended up polarizing citizens in a country where menstruation continues to be stigmatised. This article identifies scepticisms surrounding the controversy and dismantles arguments against menstrual leave. Advocacy for period leave demands that menstruators asking for equal access to opportunities at work should not have to resort to adjusting themselves to the system, rather, they should claim their space by challenging the existing structure. As companies are trying to increase employee satisfaction with the drumbeat for flexibility in workplace policies getting louder, existing policies have to be redesigned to cater to optimum comfort and productivity of diverse employees. It does organizations no good if menstruators are compelled to show up to work, and they then spend their time grimacing in pain and wishing for time to go by faster so they can finally go home and rest. The need for a paid period leave has been reignited by the Teachers’ Association of Uttar Pradesh highlighting the unsanitary condition of washrooms, among other issues, faced by the menstruators. The Delhi High Court, in response to a Public Interest Litigation, has even directed the formulation of a legislation on paid period leave. As changes to work patterns in the post-pandemic era are being accommodated, it is imperative to design a legal framework for paid period leaves in India.
Keywords: Menstruators, Period leave, Flexibility in workplace policies, Legislation on paid period leave.
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