Following the announcement of a Mumbai-based media company’s recent ‘First Day of Period’ leave policy, women across the board are reacting to it. The company set the trend in place by providing its 75 women employees an exclusive leave for their first day of menstruation. And then another company, Gozoop, followed the path and included it in their policy framework.
Talking to women from different walks of life and from different industries, it seems that women are having ‘mixed feelings’ about the said leave. While some feel that it is a step towards validating menstruation as something that women go through every month in the workplace, some feel that we already have enough sick leaves.
Kanabis founder, Devika Srimal Bapna, talked to SheThePeople.TV about the topic and said that she supports it completely. “You know it’s interesting and we work with an all-women’s team and obviously every month it happens. We are very flexible, we allow people taking half days, work-from-home, we don’t have a formal policy yet, but I think it is a great initiative,” said Devika.
HR professional Kusum Dixit also hailed the decision and said, “It has been eons that the society is thinking about women that they are giving back to women for the contribution that we have made. And just for this reason, I am all up for the decision.”
A step backward?
It is true that women face issues while on period and while it may not be similar issues for every woman, there are issues with everyone during menstruation. However, there is also a major chunk who believe that by giving this period leave, companies are taking a step backward in terms of ensuring equality, that they are actually maintaining that women are the weaker sex. Some also feel that women shouldn’t ask for such a thing because if you are asking for equality, then asking for extra leave is contradicting equality in itself.
“I run a firm where a majority of the employees are women and only two men, so I fully understand this leave policy. But I would be okay with this so far it can be capped at 12 days in the entire year and one can’t possibly need more than 12 days,” Priyanka Khimani opined
Priyanka Khimani of Anand and Anand and Khimani Associates has a similar opinion on the whole issue. “Honestly, I have somewhat of a mixed opinion here. A part of me feels that there are already enough and more leaves in the regular provisions. Especially MNCs these days have a variety of different leave policies—annual leave, compassionate leave policy, sick leave, emergency leave etc. to accommodate people barring gender,” said Priyanka.
She added, “Point two is that maybe it will be construed as a step back where on the one hand, we are fighting for equality and wanting to be treated the same as our male counterparts, but on the other hand, we still expect the same slightly above the men treatment.”
A matter of choice
Though she also feels that as a woman, she understands that a lot of women do feel severe pains, so it should be a choice for them to make. “I run a firm where a majority of the employees are women and only two men, so I fully understand this leave policy. But I would be okay with this so far it can be capped at 12 days in the entire year and one can’t possibly need more than 12 days,” Priyanka opined.
Founder of Karyaah, Nidhi Aggarwal, is also of the similar opinion when it comes to first day of period leave. She said, “I would take a day off from work if I am not feeling sick, so whether I am on period or not doesn’t really decide for me whether I should take the leave or not. There are many days that I have taken off and then many many days when I did not need to be on my period to take a sick leave. So I don’t think it needs to be stipulated as that but sure if a provision exists, I’ll only be too thankful because yeah there are some days when you do need to take that one day off.”
She further said if it really is for period, she would like to take her third day of period off.
In all the discussion of the period leave business, it is fortunate that something like menstruation, which has been a taboo for centuries, is being talked about more openly and that precisely is what is commendable.