A media company in India is offering their female employees one day of menstrual leave every month.
The Mumbai-based company Culture Machine launched the initiative by releasing a YouTube video featuring some of their female employees talking about how they feel on the first day of their periods, and filming their reactions to the news.
Female employees welcomed the move, describing it as “amazing”. One woman spoke about feeling “patronised” when talking about her period in work.
The company is allowing its 75 female employees to take the first day of their period as a menstrual leave day from this month onwards.
They are now calling on other companies across India to introduce the measure, according to The Independent.
In a statement, Culture Machine said: “Everyone knows that men and women are biologically different. However, the real progress of the human civilisation can only occur when we understand and honour these differences.
“Why should menstruation, for instance, an integral biological process that a woman goes through in her lifetime, be kept hidden?
“It's no secret that period cramps are the worst, but over the years women have had to show up at work and mask their pain with silly excuses,” the statement continued.
Culture Machine has launched a petition that calls on other companies to offer women the “same right”.
They intend to deliver the petition, which already has over 23,000 signatories, to India’s Ministry of Woman and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Several other Asian countries including Japan, China and Taiwan have introduced menstrual leave for female employees.
Meanwhile, Italy could soon become the first European country to offer paid menstrual leave to all female workers.
The Italian Parliament is currently debating a new bill which, if implemented, would offer women who suffer from painful periods three days of paid leave every month.
Four female MPs drafted the proposed menstrual leave legislation, which could come into effect in the next few months, if approved.
However, there are concerns that if the legislation is enacted, then Italian women will face discrimination in the job market.
Italy has one of the lowest rates of female employees in the EU (61 percent), and it’s believed that mandatory maternity leave laws may be partly responsible for this.
Economist Daniela Piazzalunga told The Washington Post: "Women are already taking days off because of menstrual pain, but the new law would allow them to do so without using sick leave or other permits."
However, she warned there could be negative repercussions: "The demand for female employees among companies might decrease, or women could be further penalised both in terms of salary and career advancement."
What do you think about menstrual leave, mums? Let us know your thoughts on the subject.