Menstrual Leave - Karnataka

Menstrual Leave - Karnataka

GS2 | Society| Vulnerable Sections

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The Karnataka government's initiative to consider menstrual leave is a significant step towards addressing gender-specific health needs in the workplace.

Here's a detailed analysis of the situation:

Karnataka govt. looking into menstrual leave proposal | UPSC Current Affairs | The Hindu

Context and Background

  • Menstrual Leave: Menstrual leave refers to the provision of paid or unpaid leave for women during their menstrual cycle.
  • This concept acknowledges the physical discomfort and health issues that some women experience during menstruation, which can affect their productivity and well-being.

Development in Karnataka

  1. Formation of Committee: The Karnataka Labour Department has established an 18-member committee to explore the feasibility of menstrual leave. The committee is headed by Sapna Mohan, Head of the Department, School of Law at Christ University.
  2. Committee Composition: The committee includes:
    • Legal and medical experts
    • A psychologist
    • Representatives from industries and trade unions
    • Labour Department officials

Consultation Process: The committee has already conducted one round of discussions and is set to meet again before submitting its report to the Labour Department.

Potential Extension: There is a possibility that the scope of menstrual leave could be extended to the government sector, including teachers, police personnel, and anganwadi workers.
Menstrual leave: A privilege or necessity - UPSC | India

Existing Policies and Initiatives

  • Bihar Government
    • Policy: Provides two days of menstrual leave each month since 1992.
    • Sector: Applicable to women working in the state government.
  • Private Companies
    • Zomato: Offers up to 10 days of menstrual leave per year.
    • Culture Machine: Implements menstrual leave policy since 2017.
    • Gozoop: Provides paid leave for women on the first day of their period.
  • Educational Institutions
    • Some schools and colleges have started to offer menstrual leave to students to promote a supportive environment.
    • Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT):
      • Policy: In January 2023, CUSAT introduced menstrual leave for female students, allowing them an additional 2% relaxation in attendance requirements each semester.
    • National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal and Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Aurangabad recently introduced a menstrual leave policy for their respective students.
      • The policy introduced at NLIU Bhopal extends also to gender non-conforming students who menstruate.
 In January 2023, CUSAT introduced menstrual leave for female students, allowing them an additional 2% relaxation in attendance requirements each semester
  • Labour Laws: Currently, there is no national legislation mandating menstrual leave across India. Policies are primarily driven by state initiatives or private companies.

Current Debate

  • Advocacy: Women's rights groups and some policymakers are advocating for nationwide menstrual leave policies.
  • Opposition: Critics argue that it could lead to further discrimination against women in the workplace.

Arguments For Menstrual Leave

  1. Health and Well-being: Recognizes and addresses the health needs of women, promoting their well-being.
  2. Productivity: Can potentially improve overall productivity by allowing women to take necessary rest and return to work in better health.
  3. Gender Equality and Sensitivity: Acknowledges gender-specific health issues and promotes a more inclusive workplace environment.
  4. Employee Satisfaction: Can lead to higher job satisfaction and loyalty among female employees.

Arguments Against Menstrual Leave

  1. Financial Implications: Additional costs for employers, especially in sectors with a high percentage of female employees.
  2. Stigma and Discrimination: Potential for reinforcing gender stereotypes and discrimination against women in the workplace.
  3. Workplace Dynamics: Challenges in implementation and ensuring privacy. Possible resentment among male colleagues.
  4. Operational Challenges: Managing leave schedules and ensuring continuity of work can be challenging for employers.
  5. Policy Implementation: Ensuring consistent and fair implementation of the policy across different sectors and organizations.
  6. Potential for misuse or abuse of the policy.

Global Perspective

Several countries have already implemented menstrual leave policies, providing a reference point for Karnataka:

  • Japan: Since 1947, Japan has had a law allowing women to take menstrual leave if they experience difficult periods.
  • South Korea: Women are entitled to one day of menstrual leave per month.
  • Taiwan: Women can take three days of menstrual leave per year, which is not deducted from their statutory sick leave.
  • Indonesia: Women are entitled to two days of menstrual leave per month.


The Karnataka government's initiative to consider menstrual leave is a progressive step towards gender-sensitive workplace policies. The formation of a diverse committee to deliberate on this issue ensures a comprehensive evaluation of its feasibility and implications. The final decision will need to balance the health and well-being of female employees with the operational and financial considerations of employers.

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