FIRST DAY OF PERIOD LEAVE
At least two companies in India have started offering their female employees “first day of period” (or FOP) leave. In early July, Culture Machine, a Mumbai-based digital media company, announced that its female employees would be able to stay home on the first day of their periods—no questions asked.
Later that month, Mathrubumi channel in Kerala followed suit, offering its employees 12 days of FOP leave per year. That’s a big step for the company, considering that it employs about 75 women in its 300-member team, according to an NDTV report.
“Ours is a very stressful job, and we want our women to know they are understood,” said Shreyams Kumar, Mathrubhumi’s joint managing director. “They have the option of now availing the first day of their monthly period as leave. This is over and above the normal leaves that they are entitled to.”
Culture Machine has started an online petition to persuade Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development, and Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Human Resource Development, to implement a FOP leave policy throughout the country. It’s always hard to implement something nationwide, but if more companies offer FOP leave, they may find that they have an advantage over companies that don’t. It will be easier for them to hire and keep female employees. This may encourage some companies to go even further.
Job applicant: “Do you offer FOP leave?”
Company executive: “Yes, of course we do. We even offer SOP leave and TOP leave.”
Applicant: “SOP and TOP? What are they?”
Executive: “Second day of period and third day of period leave. We are the best company for period leave. Period.”
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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