As menstruation remains a hush-hush topic in most parts of the country, it’s no surprise that people find an unrelenting shame in talking about the struggles associated with it. From back-breaking pain to blackouts, uncontrollable flow to nausea, different people experience different symptoms. While there is an ever-lasting debate on whether period woes should be considered a “monthly problem” or not, period leave is proving to be a boon to those who menstruate.
With the Menstruation Benefit Bill 2017 still waiting to be passed, Zomato introduced their period leave policy, and a string of debates was launched.
While most of the lot lauded the startup’s initiative, others like journalist Barkha Dutt said the move could set women back by years.
While the jury is still out on how companies should approach their leave policy, we are all hearts for it. If you’re a working professional who menstruates and are looking to work at a company that offers period leave, here are 7 top ones to look out for.
A step in the right direction: Indian companies that offer period leave
While period leaves might seem like the utopia of dreams, many firms and startups have taken the first step in bridging the gender disparity at the workplace by introducing the same. But Swiggy stands out from all of them, and here’s why.
Swiggy introduced not one but two days of period leave for all its female delivery partners.
The ‘no-questions-asked, two-day paid monthly period time-off policy’ will ensure that all the regular female delivery partners are provided a minimum earnings guarantee too, so they can avail the leave without being hesitant of losing pay.
The food delivery app Zomato introduced period leave in August 2020 and sparked a heavy debate on menstruation, gender, and equality in the workplace. In an open letter to his employees, CEO and founder Deepinder Goyal announced that all female and transgender employees could avail a maximum of 10 period leaves a year.
While the number was limited to one leave per cycle, the blooming startup’s decision catalysed a wave of change, and many companies have followed the example.
BYJU’s, a leading ed-tech platform in the country revamped their leave policy as a part of their wellness-first initiative. While the company updated their child care policy, they introduced a period leave policy for women in 2021.
As per the policy, women are entitled to upto 12 PELs (period leaves) per year. With one leave being credited every month, the employees can avail each of them as a full day, or two half-days for every cycle.
4. Culture Machine
Back to where it all started, Culture Machine deserves a special shoutout for being the first private company in the country to launch period leaves.
The company’s policy on FOP (first day of period leave) for women created a revolution of change.
The media company, in a bid to urge other companies to create a more inclusive atmosphere for women, also launched a campaign to urge the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resource Development to implement the FOP Leave across India.
The recent addition to the litany of companies promoting equality for women in the workplace through the introduction of period leaves is Flipkart. The e-commerce giant announced its period leave policy in March 2022. Under the policy, all women can avail one leave each month, which is in addition to casual or sick leaves.
6. Grofers/ Blinkit
Grofers, now Blinkit, introduced a refreshed policy for its employees in 2021 to promote a more people-positive workplace approach. In an array of changes that the company introduced, they also shared that hardly 16% of their total employees were women, a number they don’t recognise as being boast-worthy.
As per their menstrual leave policy, women and transgender employees at the firm can take ten days of period leave in a year.
The brand has been commended for their take on paid paternity and parental leaves for surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex parents.
The growing ed-tech startup, Scaler introduced 12 days of period leave for all its menstruating employees (including women and transgender persons) as of January 2021. With a total of 12 leaves, the employees can redeem one full leave or two half-day leaves in each cycle.
Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder at Scaler said in an interview that the initiative was not a ground-breaking change, but a realisation on accommodating a basic necessity for the employees.
While there are two schools of thought on whether period leave is required or not– the former stating that an exclusive leave for women promotes disparity and signals them as the weaker members of the workforce, the latter looks at the policy as an equalising force that lets everyone have a more level playing field.
With more companies implementing women-forward inclusive policies, the private sector in the country might be headed towards a more positive change. And whenever there is a move that supports women raising their power, we stan it.
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