SC Rejects PIL Seeking Period Leaves & Says It May Discourage Employers From Hiring Women

Every woman menstruates for a considerable amount of time in her lifetime. But each one of them has a different experience. While some can carry on with their daily chores and office work even on day one of their periods, others have to stay bedridden for a couple of days to cope with the pain and discomfort periods bring to them.

This is why women have been arguing in the favour of having the right to avail paid menstrual leaves for those who go through hell during their biological cycle.

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Recently, the government of Spain passed a law that gives women the right to three days of menstrual leave a month. According to a report by Washington Post, they also have the option of extending it to five days if they experience painful periods.

Thinking along these lines, advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Supreme Court seeking mandatory monthly leave for female students and working women during their menstrual cycle.

However, the SC refused to entertain it. While briefly hearing the PIL, the bench led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud observed that the matter is within the realm of a policy decision. It also stated that such a directive can lead to employers not wanting to hire women, reported Hindustan Times.

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Disposing the petition, the SC said that the petitioner can knock on the doors of the Women and Child Development ministry. Regarding the views of an intervenor that said that it might prove counter-productive for women, the court said:

“We did not entertain this but he has a point. If you compel employers to grant menstrual leave, it may disincentivize them from hiring women. Also, this is clearly a policy matter. So, we are not dealing with this.”

Highlighting section 14 of the 1961 Maternity Benefit Act, the petitioner argued, “The provisions of the Act have made it mandatory for employers to grant paid leave to its women employees for a certain number of days during her pregnancy, in case of miscarriage, for tubectomy operation, and also in case of illness as well as medical complications arising out of these stages of maternity.”

Earlier, a male dentist was schooled online when he spoke against period leaves. IMO, females should be given the option to take at least a day off from work on their periods. What do you think?

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