Delhi HC: Plea Seeks Grant of Paid Leave to Employees During Menstruation


Delhi HC issues notice to Centre, Delhi govt

The Delhi High Court on Monday told the Union and Delhi governments take a decision on a petition seeking grant of paid leave to women employees during menstruation by treating it as a representation.

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said the issues raised in the petition by the Delhi Labour Union should be decided as per law applicable to such matters as soon as possible and practicable.

The union sought grant of paid leave for four days a month to all classes of women employees, including daily wage, contractual and outsourced workers and to pay overtime allowance to menstruating women employees if they opt to work during that period.

The plea filed through advocate Rajiv Agawral said by not providing separate toilet facilities or breaks to maintain hygiene, the authorities were depriving the employees of their human dignity.

It said there was very little consideration or even recognition of the emotional, physical, hormonal and physiological trauma that these employees underwent during their menstrual cycle.

“Besides facing actual psychological trauma because of sudden hormonal fluctuation, the release of a large amount of extremely inflammatory lipids called prostaglandins constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and make the muscle layer contract, causing painful cramps”, the plea said.

In some private companies

Advocate Agarwal said there was a stark absence of official recognition of this actual, tangible physical condition that only the female employees have to undergo every month. He gave the example of some private companies such as Zomato and Culture Machine, which have introduced paid menstruation leave for their female employees.

“For the first time, the topic of menstruation featured in a Prime Minister’s address and there has been a main streaming of the diversity of female experiences and their criticality to their equal rights in workplace”, the plea said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence day speech, where he spoke of sanitary napkins.

“The time, therefore, is ripe to break the taboo and misconception around menstruation and consider the genuine needs of menstruating female employees,” it said.

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