12 Indian companies that offer 'period leave' to female employees
We live in a world where talking about menstruation is considered taboo. Girls are taught to keep their periods hidden from the outside world and unfortunately, men and society fail to recognise the excruciating pain. However, with the advent of social media, a lot of women, media organisations, individual blogs began addressing the issue and that led to the acceptance of talking about menstruation and difficulties associated with it.
Thanks to broader discussion and acceptance of the issue, two Indian organisations have decided to give paid leaves to their female employees.
However, India is not the first country to consider period leave or time off for female staff. In fact, in many countries like Japan, South Korea and Italy menstrual leave is part of women employees’ leave policy. Now in India many companies are following the footsteps of these countries and allowing female employees to take a day or two days leave during menstruation:
Online food delivery company Swiggy has taken a unique initiative for its female food delivery partners. Swiggy has announced to give two days monthly "time off" to its women delivery partners.
“Discomfort from being out and about on the road while menstruating is probably one of the most underreported reasons why many women don’t consider delivery to be a viable gig. To support them through any menstruation-related challenges, we’ve introduced a no-questions-asked, two-day paid monthly period time-off policy for all our regular female delivery partners. This industry-first initiative gives our female DEs the option to voluntarily take time off during their menstrual cycle and be eligible for a minimum earnings guarantee during that time” Mihir Shah, Swiggy's Vice President of Operations said in a recent blogpost.
2. Culture Machine
In July 2017 Culture Machine, a Mumbai-based digital media startup made a headline when the company announced good news for its women employees and allowed them to take a day off on the first day of their period. The company was inspired to adopt this policy by one of its video channels, Blush, which focuses on women’s issues and empowerment.
In 2017 after Mumbai-based startup, Culture Machine, Malayalam media organisation Mathrubhumi allowed its women employees to stay at home on the first day of their menstrual cycle. Mathrubhumi’s top management said that the decision taken by Culture Machine prompted them to come up with such a policy. "It was an eye-opener as channel workers do have a stressful job and work odd hours. They often work for extended hours. We need to understand that during menstruation, they might be grinding their teeth to subdue the pain. Do not think of it as sympathy; it is more of understanding women," firm's joint managing director MV Shreyams Kumar told The Times Of India.
In July 2017, another company followed the footstep of Culture Machine's FOP leave policy. Chennai-based digital magazine platform Magzter announced its female employee to take one day of paid leave in a month during the first or second day of their period.
"The situation is more challenging for working women in India as, more often than not, they are unable to freely discuss menstruation, or the pain they go through every month with their male colleagues," Girish Ramdas Co-Founder & CEO, Magzter said. "We want to shun such old world taboos that demean women and their physiological needs and also make this a mainstream topic that the women should not feel delicate about - just like taking a day off for a cold or cough and that there’s nothing wrong with this as it’s normal," Ramdas said.
5. Wet and Dry
A New Delhi-based feminine hygiene products maker Wet & Dry Personal Care started to allow its women employees to take two days off during their menstrual cycles.
“Based on medical recommendations, we are offering two days off a month for our women employees. This is to ensure that they are comfortable and don’t have to endure pain while in office,” W&D chief executive officer Pankaj Garg said. The women can also avail of leave with pay and work from home, the company said.
Hyderabad-based market research and strategic consulting start-up IndustryArc, has initiated a menstrual policy, which allows their women employees to take a day or two days paid off during their menstruation. However, the policy also comes with a catch. Women employees would have to later compensate for the leave and finish the pending work later on!
“Our company aims at equal opportunities for growth, irrespective of gender. So it made us take a hard look at issues faced by women and what effects their daily tasks. While it took us some time to realise, understand and implement this policy, we are proud of the work done by them and want to convey that we have their back no matter what. I hope our small endeavour can champion change in workplace rules nationally and internationally,” said Chaitanya Kumar, CEO and co-founder.
Founded in 2008, Gurugram-based Zomato is one of India's best-known companies, with more than 5,000 employees, last year allowing its female employees to take 10 days paid leave in a year during the period. This will help women employees to maintain continuity in work.
Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of zomato announced this through an email to its employee. He wrote, “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” “You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day,” he added.
In a bid to combat stigma around menstruation, in 2020, following in Zomato's footsteps, a Surat-based digital marketing company iVIPANAN said it would give 12 days of period leave per year to women employees.
“In the process of giving a more healthy and happy working environment, we are announcing a monthly menstrual cycle paid leave for all our female team members from today (Sunday) with immediate effect,” Bhautik Sheth, the founder of iVIPANAN wrote in an email to his employees. “We keep thinking about how we can give more comfort to our team, how can we make the working environment human-friendly, how can we make the working environment healthy and friendly,” he added.
9. Gozoop Online Pvt Ltd
Another company in the same league and one of the first companies in India to implement this policy. Gozoop, a digital marketing organisation that allowed all the female employees to take a paid leave on the first day of their period. It was initiated by Culture Machine, a Mumbai-based digital entertainment machine and then picked up by Gozoop.
10. Horses Stable News
Bengaluru-Based Startup Horses Stable News with 60 per cent women and 40 per cent men employee to break the menstrual taboo and allows its female employee to take two days paid leave and offers an allowance of Rs 250 to help ease through the stress during that specific time and called it 'Nay to Yay'.
"There's no denial of the fact that women face severe pain and cramps during their menstrual cycle and for the female workforce it gets very arduous. The implementation of the menstrual leave policy should not be termed as a gift. Our aim is to provide equal opportunities to the growth of both men and women," said Horses Productions co-founder Saloni Agarwal.
"We are more than happy to implement this initiative in our company and by doing so we wish to inspire other organisations to adopt this policy as a step towards gender inclusivity. With this initiative, I hope to break the menstrual taboo," she added.
In the last week of December 2018, a Kolkata-based digital media company called FlyMyBiz announced a New Year's gift that almost every working woman in the country wishes for and it was a paid period of leave. Samyo Datta, the founder-CEO of FlyMyBiz, said, “All the women employees in my company will get one extra leave every month. This means, starting from January 2019, they will have twelve holidays as their period leaves in addition to their other holidays.”
"There are about 12 female employees in the company and all of them have happily welcomed the move. The male employees too have equally welcomed the initiative of the firm," said Datta.
India's leading education App, Byju's allows its women employees to avail themselves up to 12 Period Leaves (PELs) in a year. Each month, one PEL will be credited; and women employees can either take a day off every month or avail two half-day leaves, according to Byju's blog.