PIL in Delhi HC to direct Centre, Delhi govt to grant menstrual leaves to women employees
The Delhi High Court will hear on November 23, a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to the Centre and the Delhi government for granting paid leave to women employees during their menstruation phase.
The matter was listed before a division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, however, the matter could not be heard as the bench didn’t assemble and the same is now posted for hearing on November 23.
The petition filed by Delhi Labour Union, through advocate Rajiv Agarwal, sought direction to the Centre and Delhi government to grant paid leaves 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.
“…female employees form a significant part of workforce in the offices and establishments of the Respondents. At present, many employees employed with the Respondents for performing various roles including that of officer, employee and worker,” the plea said.
“These employees perform all kind of works including that of administrative, managerial, supervisory, skilled, unskilled, manual, operational, clerical and technical nature. These employees are employed through different modes of employment such as regular employees, ad hoc, deputation, daily wage muster roll workers, contractual workers and workers employed through independent contractors/outsourcing agencies,” it added.
The petition further states that a significant number of these employees menstruate and there is very little consideration or even recognition for the emotional, physical, hormonal, and physiological trauma that these employees undergo during their menstrual cycle.
The petitioner stated that besides facing actual psychological trauma because of sudden hormonal fluctuation, the release of a large amount of extremely inflammatory lipids called prostaglandins constricts the blood vessels in the uterus and makes the muscle layer contract, causing painful cramps.
It added that some of the prostaglandins enter the bloodstream, causing headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The pain is so extreme in some cases that it causes fainting and dizziness spells.
“In our society, menstruation and complications related to it are still considered taboo; they are shrouded in overwhelming shame and inability of female employees to discuss their bodily functions and impairments openly. There is a stark absence of official recognition for this actual, tangible, and physical condition that only the female employees have to undergo every month. There is simply no opportunity or agency for female employees to frankly air their grievances and raise demands for menstrual benefits,” the plea concluded.