Transition of Thoughts

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Menstrual leave – To be or not to be?

Menstrual leave

Menstrual leave

Source: http://blog.pslove.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/feature-pic.jpg

I must say I came across this concept only very recently when a company advertised this new policy in their organization on Linkedin. As expected from the comments section, the people were divided on whether it made sense or not. As is always the case, there are two sides to the coin and you would agree or disagree depending on the side you are on.

There are days in a month where women feel unwell when they are going through the menstrual period. And this may affect them in terms of their efficiency of doing the various tasks. So a policy like menstrual leave enables them to rest and relax without having to worry about meeting their deadlines for completing a certain task. It also shows an organization’s empathy in understanding the concerns of a woman employee.

The ones who disagree say that women can use their normal sick leaves for this. But what if you actually are down with a fever or illness and all the sick leaves are used up? In such a case, a policy like this will be very helpful.

But those on the other side voice their displeasure at the lack of gender equality with such policies. There are women who themselves feel that such a policy tends to alienate them from their male counterparts and may end up being more sexist than helpful. Many instead feel that they can work perfectly even during the menstrual period.

Ironically, while this policy has existed in Japan since 1947, even today a lot many women there are shy to mention to their bosses that they will be on ‘menstrual leave’. They instead mention that they are going on sick leave. While this leads to another bigger point of women not needing to be embarrassed about menstruation, let’s leave that discussion for another day. Then there’s also the point of how would you prove to your boss that you are actually in the menstrual period? I guess it’s all about trust, isn’t it?

Giving menstrual leave also leads to increase of costs for women employees and that’s something each employer would need to evaluate accordingly.

Before introducing such a policy, it’s important for the employer to understand the concerns, questions and any disagreements from the women employees. If they are not comfortable, it may not be a great idea to go ahead with this.

Linking to Write Tribe Festival of Writers – Day 5

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4 Comments

  1. Recently Samsung introduced this and I find it annoying. While menstruation is normal, giving a day’s off for that, how logical it is? What if a woman needs two? I have a friend who suffers from PCOD meaning no periods and happily takes that time of the month off. So, it’s not fair in terms of equality to introduce a concept like this. I have no doubts about this. At one hand, we say it’s a normal thing and let’s not make a big thing and on the other hand, we say we are very thoughtful and we give our women a menstrual leave.

    • aseemrastogi2

      Yeah quite agree with the part where you mention that menstruation should be treated as a normal thing and not something really big. Giving an off for this may amount to not being gender equal. But then again, there could be those who actually are unable to work during this period and may feel relieved that a leave has been granted. So again, it’s a fine balancing act which organizations will need to achieve with a policy like this as it ends up being more controversial than intended.

  2. Lata Sunil

    Another option is to give an additional 5 days for menstrual leave to the women. This way, there is some additional days of leave to avail for emergencies.

    • aseemrastogi2

      Hmm while 5 days maybe a good option for some, there could be those who actually are embarrassed to mention it to their bosses / colleagues on why they want to take this leave. In such a situation, naming it ‘menstrual leave’ specifically may not be right.

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