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Indian Company Implements Menstrual Leave Policy, Sets the Ball Rolling for Others

A start up in Hyderabad has put in place its own menstrual policy that allows many of the women in the workforce to opt for a leave if needed.

Runa Mukherjee Parikh | News18 Specials@tweetruna

Updated:August 24, 2016, 2:52 PM IST
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Indian Company Implements Menstrual Leave Policy, Sets the Ball Rolling for Others
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We reported on how Sastodeal became Kathmandu’s first company to implement a menstrual leave policy for its women employees. Now we have positively good news coming from our own country – IndustryARC, a three year old start up in Hyderabad has already put in place its own menstrual policy that allows many of the women in the workforce to opt for a leave if needed.

The market research and strategic consulting firm company did a closed survey in which about 100 female respondents participated. The questionnaire focused on the frequency and length of the menstrual cycle and its overlap with work days, how many were effected by PMS and if they suffered from severe pain or cramps during their period rated on a scale of 1 to 10. “We also asked if their focus and productivity seemed affected during menstruation and if they wanted to take a leave or compensatory off if available,” says Chaitanya Kumar, CEO and co-founder of the 70 employees strong company.

The findings of the survey made it clear that most days of the menstrual cycle coincided with work days and many suffered severe pain for a period of 1 to 3 days typically. “We also realised many were unable to give their complete focus to work and would like to take an off day if it was made possible. Infact, many women admitted they had taken leaves for this specific reason many times in the past. We simply had to devise this policy after the feedback,” he said.

With 25 women working in the company, about 40% have availed it in the three months of its existence. It has even been incorporated in the employee guidelines handbook. But it comes with a catch; employees need to simply drop a mail to the HR and reporting manager with the subject line “ML Request” and mention if they are taking a leave of 1 or 2 days. They however, need to inform when they shall be compensating the leaves in the ‘succeeding consecutive weekends to complete the pending work. If the MLs are not compensated within the fortnight, they will be considered as paid or unpaid leave depending on the leave balance of the employee.’

Even so, it seems like a move in the right direction. “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,” says Chaitanya.

Venkat, the head of business development in the firm agrees. “The policy is a part of the employee feedback loop system and we wish this was implemented much earlier. But we are happy to get it working now.”

| Edited by: Shomini Sen
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