Supreme Court urges Central Govt to make model policy on Menstrual Leave for Women Employees

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The Supreme Court on Monday addressed the issue of making menstrual leave mandatory for employers, expressing concerns about its potential impact on women’s participation in the workforce. However, the Court urged the Centre to explore the development of a model policy after consulting with states and stakeholders.

Court’s Decision and Rationale:

The bench, led by CJI D Y Chandrachud, refrained from issuing a positive directive to governments to implement menstrual leave for women. The Court highlighted the multifaceted nature of the issue and emphasized that it should be examined by the Centre and states, as the Court cannot directly interfere. In response to concerns raised by senior advocate Rakesh Khanna about the lack of response from governments to the petitioner’s representation, the Court cautioned that mandatory menstrual leave could discourage employers from engaging women workers, potentially harming the cause.

Policy Considerations and Disposal of the PIL:

In light of the complex policy considerations, the bench requested the additional solicitor general Aishwrya Bhati to urge the secretary in the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare to examine the issue at the policy level, following consultations with stakeholders and state governments. The Court suggested that the Union government consider framing a model policy and make a decision based on the consultations, ultimately disposing of the PIL.

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Petitioner’s Perspective and International Precedents:

The petitioner, Shailendra Mani Tripathi, highlighted the oversight of the menstrual period in existing maternity legislation and societal norms. The petition drew attention to international examples, such as the policy in Soviet Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Indonesia, the UK, Wales, Taiwan, and Zambia, where menstrual leave provisions exist.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court’s stance on the issue of menstrual leave emphasizes the need for a comprehensive policy framework that balances the interests of women in the workforce with the operational needs of employers. The Court’s decision to encourage the Centre to consider developing a model policy reflects a nuanced approach to addressing this important societal and workplace issue.

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1 COMMENT

  1. We do not concern that which points the Govt. consider at the time of making policy and rules.

    But this leave will badly affects the work of the organisations, viz :
    imagineb in a office four women and six men working. This menstrual period takes approx 27 days in a healthy woman, now we imagine that all four women are healthy then continuously in a month one by one they will remain on leave.
    2. if prefix or sufix holidays comes with adjoining menstrual leave, the office work will suffer more and public feel harrassment and make complaints for delaying work.
    3. if menstrual period starts from the day of holiday and suppose three holidays falls continuously, in that case women worker may demand to grant three days extra leave because her menstrual period starts and ends during Govt. holidays and she may claim as matter of human rights.
    4. The name should be given to this leave
    ‘Monthly Medical Leave’ in place of
    ‘menstrual leave’ because while submitting application to the controller, both working women and controller’ feel shame.

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