Exploring Menstrual Leave in India: Moving Beyond Legal Framework


This research paper explores the concept of menstrual leave in India, examining the challenges women face in the workplace due to menstruation, its impact on productivity, existing policies in various countries, and the status of menstrual leave in India. It addresses criticisms, recent legal developments, and initiatives by companies and states. The study emphasizes the need for broader discussions on gender equality, workplace inclusivity, and menstrual health beyond legal mandates.


Menstrual Leave, Workplace Productivity, Gender Equality, Menstrual Health, India, Policy, Legislation.


Menstruation is a natural biological process experienced by billions of women worldwide. In India, where cultural norms and societal attitudes towards menstruation have historically been complex, Menstrual leave has gained popularity in recent years as a way to address the special issues that menstruation individuals encounter in the workplace. The conversation about menstrual leave has gone beyond just what the law says. It has given light to conversations about gender equality, workplace inclusivity, and the broader issue of menstrual hygiene and health.

Research Methodology

This research paper adopts a qualitative approach, incorporating literature review, case analysis, and policy examination. Primary data sources include surveys, legal documents, and official statements. Secondary data sources encompass academic articles, reports, and news articles. The study employs content analysis to identify themes, patterns, and implications related to menstrual leave in India and globally.

Review of Literature

The literature review highlights the challenges women encounter during menstruation in the workplace, including physical discomfort, hormonal changes, and societal stigma. Studies, such as the CIPD survey, reveal the prevalence of negative experiences and absenteeism due to menstrual symptoms. The impact on workplace productivity is examined through surveys like the one conducted by the Flo app, indicating a significant effect on efficiency and lack of support from employers.

Critics raise concerns about potential misuse of menstrual leave policies and perpetuation of gender discrimination. Legal developments, such as the recent PIL in India and existing policies in other countries like Japan, Indonesia, and Spain, offer insights into the debate surrounding menstrual leave. Initiatives by companies and states within India, such as Zomato’s policy and Bihar and Kerala’s menstrual leave provisions, demonstrate progress towards addressing menstrual health in the workplace.

The paper concludes by advocating for a holistic approach to menstrual leave policies, encompassing education, access to products, and supportive work environments, to promote gender equality and dignity for menstruating individuals in India.

What challenges do women face during menstruation at the workplace?

Women deal with different levels of physical discomfort and pain during their menstrual cycle. Hormonal fluctuations cause changes in mood and emotions. Many women also suffer from female cycle issues such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and so on. During this period, females may find it difficult to maintain a consistent level of productivity in an otherwise fast-paced professional atmosphere. A recent study from CIPD sheds light on the often-overlooked challenges women face during menstruation. The survey of 2,000 women highlights that 69% encountered negative experiences at work due to menstrual symptoms. Over half reported calling in sick due to these symptoms, with nearly half of them refraining from disclosing the reason to their line manager (49%).

Menstrual symptoms, ranging from abdominal cramps to irritability, fatigue, bloating, and low mood, affect women differently. Additionally, 15% grapple with menstrual conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). These symptoms collectively result in decreased concentration and confidence, heightened stress, and discomfort.

The challenges women face at work during menstruation are because of a lack of awareness, accommodation, and concerns over confidentiality. Many working environments need arrangements or bolster frameworks recognizing these particular needs, cultivating an environment where examining female well-being or asking about housing feels awkward.

How does the menstrual cycle affect workplace productivity?

Emotional and physical signs of the menstrual cycle affect women’s productivity at work, frequently leading to delinquency. 1867 Flo app users expressed an interest in an overview of the effect of their menstrual cycle on their workplace effectiveness, as well as the role of Flo in alleviating some of the most prominent concerns. The greater part highlighted the direct impact of their cycle on work environment efficiency, with 45.2% announcing truancy (5.8 days more than average in the previous 12 months). 48.4% stated that they did not accept any assistance from their chief, and 94.6% said they were not given any special consideration for concerns relating to their menstrual cycle, with 75.6% stating that they required it.


Despite the positive momentum, concerns have been raised about the potential for menstrual leave policies to be misused or exploited, either by individuals exaggerating symptoms to take time off or by employers using menstrual leave as a pretext for discrimination. Critics argue that separate. Menstrual leave policies based on biological factors could perpetuate gender discrimination against women in the workplace.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani stated “As a menstruating woman, menstruation and the menstruation cycle is not a handicap, it’s a natural part of women’s life journey,” This approach, created in collaboration with partners, points to make strides mindfulness and get to legitimate menstrual cleanliness administration hones over the nation. The Union Serve also highlighted the existing ‘Promotion of Menstrual Cleanliness Administration (MHM)’ plot, pointed at pre-adult young ladies from 10 to 19 a long time ancient. Bolstered by the National Wellbeing Mission, this conspire centers on upgrading information approximately menstrual cleanliness through different instruction and mindfulness programs.

The Recent Case on Menstrual Leave in India

In January 2023, a public interest lawsuit (PIL) Shailendra Mani Tripathi v. Union of India and Ors., (2023) recounts the PIL filed by Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi demanding menstruation leave for women and female students under the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the PIL in an order dated 24-2-2023, implying that the petitioner should submit a submission to the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, which may make an appropriate decision in this regard.

Countries where Menstrual Leave exists 

Menstruation is everywhere; however, Menstrual Leave is not. There are a few countries that allow women to take a break from work when menstruating. The majority of countries do not have a policy requiring such leave for their female workers. In this regard, the business sector appears to do significantly better than governments around the world, since companies fight to attract more efficient personnel by offering paid or unpaid incentives. Here are the nations with menstruation leave policies for working women.

• Japan

Japanese labor unions began demanding leave in the 1920s. Finally, the law for providing menstruation take-off, called’seiri kyuka’ (mental take-off), was brought into force by the Japanese Work Measures in 1947. If a woman is unable to attend work due to menstruation, the law allows her to take one day off.

• Indonesia

Working women in Indonesia have the right under Labor Act No. 13 of 2003 to take two days of paid leave each month during their menstruation period.

• South Korea

The employment law in South Korea allows female workers to take time off for periods. If a female chooses not to profit from the take-off, the management will pay her for those days.

• Taiwan

Despite the fact that Taiwan is not particularly liberal, it has a menstrual take-off policy. Since 2002, females representatives have been given three additional take-off days per year in addition to the standard wiped-out take-off permitted to all representatives. These three days off might be used during the feminine cycle.

• Zambia

Since 2015, female workers in Zambia have been allowed to one day of leave every month. This uncommon takeoff is in any way known as ‘Mother’s Day’ or ‘Menstrual Leave’. If a female representative is denied leave, she may file a lawsuit against her manager.

• Spain

In 2023, Spain became the first European country to grant three to five days of menstruation leave with a doctor’s certificate. Some businesses and institutions have implemented menstrual leave policies based on their own interests rather than waiting for a legal need.

Where does India Stand for Menstrual Leave?

According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), just 12% of respondents said their employers provide menstrual support, usually in the form of free period products and time off for medical appointments, which represents significant development. Some businesses have taken the effort to implement such policies, recognizing the issues that menstruation can present for women in the workplace. 

  • Zomato and other companies, including Swiggy and Byjus, implemented a 10-day paid annual vacation policy in 2020.
  • Only Bihar and Kerala have implemented menstruation leave policies for women.
  • -Bihar’s policy was implemented in 1992, allowing employees to take two days of paid menstruation vacation each month. Kerala’s higher education division has just approved menstrual and maternity leave for students in its colleges. 
  • Additionally, a Kerala school has offered a comparable approach.Attempts to introduce menstruation leave measures in Parliament have been unsuccessful thus far. In 2017, the Feminine Cycle Benefits Charge was introduced, followed by the Women’s Sexual, Regenerative, and Menstrual Rights Charge in 2018.
  • -Recently, the “Right of Women to Menstrual Leave and Free Access to Menstrual Health Products Bill, 2022” was introduced. This charge aims to provide three days of paid leave for women and transwomen during their periods while also increasing the benefit to students.
  • The law cites data indicating that menstruation has an influence on girls’ education, with around 40% of girls missing school during their periods and nearly 65% reporting that it impacts their everyday school activities.

While there is no law in India providing menstruation leave, organizations are free to make their own decisions and contractually give more favorable employment terms than those provided by the appropriate legal regulations. As a result, numerous industry leaders in India are developing particular internal guidelines for employee wellness and giving benefits such as menstruation leave to their staff. They also provide other perks to their employees, such as sanitary pads at a low cost on company grounds.


The conversation around menstrual leave in India has evolved beyond mere legal mandates to encompass broader issues of gender equality, dignity, respect, workplace inclusivity, and menstrual health. Menstruation leave policies are a step in the right direction, but they must be part of a bigger effort to promote period health education, provide access to menstrual products, and foster supportive workplace cultures. A company may offer 1 day per month of paid menstrual take off or the capacity to work from domestic or more days per month. A few work situations in addition allow “well-being rooms” where menstruators can take a break to center on their prosperity in the midst of working hours. By taking a holistic approach, India can move closer to achieving gender equality and ensuring that menstruating individuals can fully participate in the workforce with dignity and respect.

Name- Maitrayee Ravindra Mate

College name- Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College,Pune