Imagine having terrible stomach cramps, dizziness, mood swings and an unbearable body ache. And yet you have to put up a brave facade and smile through a hard day at home, school, college or work.
Women go through this ritual every month from the age of 13-14 to mid or late forties. While the cycle and intensity of pain may differ from woman to woman — some may never feel the pain — a majority of women invariably suffer during those days of the month.
Since working women do not have the luxury of sitting at home during periods, to make matters easier for them, a lot of corporate companies are now taking the initiative of introducing menstrual leave for their female employees.
Countries like Japan, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, South Korea have the menstrual leave system for a really long time and now an Indian company too has followed suit by introducing first day off during periods for their female employees.
They are also running a petition for other companies in the country to sign. In the light of this, we asked working professionals about their views on menstrual leave...
If you don’t get a leave, you are forced to come to office and then your performance is low because your body doesn’t permit to stay up and work long hours. You have cramps, you can’t concentrate. So better take an off day.
I think they must get a leave or, half day at least, because it’s difficult to work during periods. It’s better to rest rather than being unproductive at work. This doesn’t mean that girls are unproductive at work during periods, it’s just that they have to bear a lot and work too.
I don’t think it is necessary because most companies already have some leaves allocated for people when they fall sick. And, not all girls go through a terrible time during periods. I just feel people might start misusing this whole policy. Of course, companies need to be sensitive towards girls taking sick leave during periods and this can fall under the sick leave bracket which is already granted to the employees. -Pooja Shetty
How will you exactly execute this? How can you give a day off on the first day if there is a considerable number of women employees in an office and each one of them has a similar cycle? How will you give an off to so many people at once? And it becomes too obvious in the office too that it is these girls’ first day. In that case, every company should assign a fixed number of leaves for girls which can be taken unplanned, in case they need it, but girls should not misuse them.
I feel it should be kept optional. If a girl needs it, she can take leave. Not all girls face problems on the first day only. It may prevail on all five days or any of the other days. Therefore, taking a leave should depend on a girl’s condition. Also, it shouldn’t be exploited unnecessarily giving a wrong impression that periods are an excuse to get leaves.
The menstrual cycle is a natural bodily process, and from what I have heard, the first day of periods is especially painful, physically and mentally. A day off for this will do absolutely do no harm. And it is already being offered in a few countries, along with some Indian companies too.