Menstrual Leave: Will women in India get leave from office during periods?

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Menstrual Leave : The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Government to formulate a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees in consultation with the states and other stakeholders. A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra said that the issue is related to policy and is not for the courts to consider.

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The bench said that the court’s decision regarding granting such leave to women could prove to be adverse and ‘detrimental’ as employers may refrain from hiring them. The bench questioned the petitioner as to how such leave would encourage more women to become part of the workforce. It said that making such leave mandatory would drive women away from the workforce. … We do not want this.

The bench said that this is actually a government policy issue and not for the courts to consider. It said that the petitioner says that a representation was submitted to the Center in May 2023. Since the issue raises diverse objectives of government policy, this court has no reason to interfere in the light of our previous order. However, the bench allowed advocate Rakesh Khanna, appearing for the petitioner and advocate Shailendra Tripathi to approach the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.

The bench directed that it requests the secretary to consider the matter at the policy level and take a decision after consulting all stakeholders and see if a model policy can be made. The apex court made it clear that if the states take any step in this regard, the consultation process of the Center will not come in their way. The court had earlier disposed of a petition requesting menstrual leave to girl students and working women across the country. The apex court had then said that since the issue is policy, a representation can be submitted to the Center. The senior lawyer said that no decision has been taken by the Center yet.

Companies that are already providing menstrual leave.

Zomato: Offering up to 10 days of paid leave annually to female and transgender employees to help with menstruation.

Byju’s: Provides menstrual leave to help female employees.

Magzter: A digital magazine platform that offers paid leave.

Orient Electric: The company has recently introduced menstrual leave.

Culture Machine: Allows female employees to take a day off on the first day of their menstruation.

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