‘May dissuade employers’: SC refuses to entertain plea seeking menstrual leave for female employees | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider plea seeking menstrual leave for female employees. The court, however, has instructed the central government to engage in discussions with all relevant stakeholders and states to formulate a model policy on this matter.
A bench led by CJI D Y Chandrachud said that while the policy may encourage women for bigger participation in the workforce, the flip side to it is that it may dissuade employers from engaging women in its workforce.It’s a policy decision which can be attended to by Centre and state governments, it said.
The court highlighted that this is a policy decision that falls under the purview of the central and state governments.
This is not the first time the Supreme Court has taken such a stance. In February, the court had similarly refused to entertain a PIL that sought to compel all states to establish rules for granting menstrual pain leave to female students and working women at their respective workplaces. The court had observed that this issue falls within the policy domain of the government.
The petitioner in the case had highlighted that only two states in India, Bihar and Kerala, currently provide menstrual leave for women. In 1992, during Lalu Prasad’s tenure as chief minister, Bihar introduced two days of paid menstrual leave for female employees. More recently, on January 19, Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced a three-day period leave for female students in the state.
The CJI-led bench had noted, “If you compel employers to provide paid menstrual leave to women employees, it may impact their business or serve as a disincentive, and they might avoid taking in a large number of women employees.” Consequently, the bench concluded that the issue falls under the purview of the Executive’s policy decision. They had advised the petitioner’s counsel to submit a representation on this matter to the Union ministry of women and child development for appropriate action.

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