Mumbai Firm Was First In India To Give 'Menstrual Leave' For Women In 2010

(MENAFN- IANS) Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) In 2010, a small Mumbai firm quietly introduced something unheard of - 'menstrual leave' for all its women employees - and the practice continues uninterrupted even now.

It was the brainchild of Uttam R. Jain, 43, proprietor of Shree Lakshmi Steel Industries located in south Mumbai, where all his female employees were permitted to avail five days of paid "menstrual leave", with no questions asked.

Nearly 15 years after that small beginning, the Maharashtra National Law University campus has now rolled out a new menstrual leave policy for female students.

It's the outcome of the initiatives by the MNLU Executive Council of the Student Bar Council which got the in-principle nod of the varsity's Executive Council this week, to achieve gender justice within the university.

The students shall be permitted to avail one menstrual leave per month or the equivalent of medical leave, with a cap of five per semester.

Though no medical certificate would be required for the menstrual leave, students must mandatorily fulfil the minimum attendance criteria of 67 per cent as per the rules.

On his part, Jain said that he feels happy that the MNLU has decided to carry forward the small torch he lit 15 years ago when even the subject of menstrual leave was considered a taboo, and even females would discuss it in whispers.

"I am a devotee of Goddess Durga Ma... Most Indian families follow strict traditions about the menstrual cycles of their womenfolk, they are not allowed in the kitchen, or do any hard work, etc. So why can't the same privileges be available to women even at their workplaces," Jain told IANS.

His company has been employing women since around 2005 and the numbers keep varying as many leave after marriage, transfer of husbands, or family responsibilities, etc.

However, Jain said that on the very first day any woman joins, she is informed subtly "not to come to the office for 'those' five days, no questions will be asked, and there shall be no salary cuts".

The initiative has improved their productivity at work, they are more relaxed, their families also support them and it is good for the mental and physical wellbeing of the working woman. After so many years, now the MNLU is taking the laudable initiative. Why can't it be made into some kind of a national welfare policy by the government," said Jain.

In a brief explanatory note, the MNLU said it aims to support and make appropriate provisions concerning menstrual leave for students and research scholars.

"The student community grapples with the impact of menstrual cramps and conditions like dysmenorrhea, lower abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, often likened in ordinary conversation to the severity of health issues and period pain which significantly affects their well-being," it said.

Further, students experiencing symptoms of menstrual disorders such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) need necessary awareness, encouragement of healthy lifestyles, and specific educational reasonable accommodations.

The MNLU acknowledged the importance of menstrual leave and said it is determined to implement this policy effectively for the health and well-being of the students.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: ...)



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