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11 Aug

To Leave or not to Leave – Period

Period leave also known as menstruation leave #Zomato has offered 10 days of additional leave for women over and above their entitled leave. It means they can take additional 10 days off in a year for their period. Read more about it.

Break the taboo

In India Period talk is taboo talk and period leave (shhhhh …. no one in the office should know I’m having my periods). It’s a hush talk between women and a subject of mockery or derision amongst the men (well well …. not all men). Until recently, all the advertisements used blue colour to indicate blood on pad.

The word PMS is used loosely to attribute women’s mood swings. An angry woman (or upset or any other related emotion) is assumed to be PMSing, Time to stop this and treat PMS as PMS and not explain every mood swing as PMS

Moving a conversation around menstruation in the office does help in breaking the taboo and normalising periods and the ensuing talk around it

So what about the leave.

Professor John Guillebaud (UCL Institute for Women’s Health) has conducted research showing that period cramps can be as painful as having a heart attack. 

The leave is a welcome move. Not all jobs are sitting jobs. Not all women in a sitting jobs are comfortable during periods. The organisation is showing …. it cares … and it is inclusive.

And … the reaction

Both men and women are divided on this issue. Can women not avail this as a sick leave which is already available. Try having a heart attack every month to know if this additional leave is unwarranted. Social media is abuzz about to have or not to have. Those cheering for the leave have settled down but those against it are still working overtime to express their views on social media.

The first and foremost reason for being against it is that there will be still more bias against hiring women. Let’s get this straight, those biased against women … there are enough reasons for them to justify their bias. One more reason will not really make a difference. So we may stop worrying about them.

Secondly, menstruation is a biological process. Each woman has a different experience. Ranging from slight discomfort for a few, it can be a cause anything like mild to severe pain & cramps accompanied with nausea, sleeplessness, depression, headache and not to forget heavy loss of blood for others. So if you or the women you know, haven’t experienced something which is hampering their work …. don’t assume the same about others.

Thirdly, Having a leave policy does not mean the women will take every opportunity to avail it. A better option will be to create a culture in the organisation where men and women look forward to coming to work rather than taking leave. Look around you, how many of your colleagues don’t utilise their annual leave … year after year.

When it made headlines

Italy made headlines when it proposed three days leave per month for the women. Unfortunately the bill did not see the light of the day.

Japan has a period leave since 1947 (Employers are obligated to grant the leave but not obligated to make it paid leave). Other countries like Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan & Vietnam also have period leave.

Victorian Women’s Trust offices in Melbourne, Australia, started a world debate when it stated period leave in Oct 2018

Way back in 2016 IndustryARC (https://www.industryarc.com), a Hyderabad based Market research company implemented period leave. The other companies like Culture Machine (https://culturemachine.co) and  Gozoop (https://www.gozoop.com). Few of them allow women to work from home rather than give them a leave. Perhaps, these headlines are long forgotten.

To Period leave or to not Period Leave

My vote goes to Period leave. Inclusion is not about equality but equity. Granting leave on the days when they need it the most … is a step towards inclusion. Three cheers to Zomato

references :
Meet The Pioneers Who Have Implemented Menstrual Leave Policy In Their Companies by www.mansworld.com

Employer’s paid period leave policy in Australia stirs world debate by CNN


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