Spains new bill on Sexual and Reproductive Rights recently made headlines for its proposal to offer paid menstrual leave, among other things. Prime Minister Pedro Snchezs administration hopes it will officially become the law by the end of the year and break the stigma of medical issues such as abortion and menstrual health.The bill has brought into the limelight a much-discussed question: should India start offering paid period leaves to female employees? The question is a tough one to answer. The level of distress felt during periods varies from person to person. Symptoms can include physical pain and mental health issues, often making it impossible to concentrate and function at work. In such a scenario, a day off would be beneficial not just for the employee but for the company as well. Research states that giving employees time off to recover leads to more productivity and adds a positive attitude towards work. So what is stopping India from legalising this?A significant factor is gender inequality at work. The participation of Indian women in the workforce is already on a dwindling scale, and legal period leaves can be used as an excuse by employers not to hire females. Rambha Jha, Chief Manager-Human Resource, Leads Connect Services weighs in. In Indias current working culture, women account for only 19.9 per cent of the total labour force in India. Globally women still have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men in all sectors. I understand that period is different for everyone and it certainly differs based on ones physical health. In the same way, one person can function even with a fever, while for the other, it can be tough to handle. Since companies offer sick leaves to their team members, I believe a good idea would be to consider period leave as a part of sick leave so that the discrimination we predict can be completely avoided.Ajay Bhatt, General Manager-HR, BL Agro, adds, While many women advocate paid menstrual leave due to excruciating pain, others have dismissed the idea due to their belief that propagating menstrual leave will deepen male preconceptions about female weakness and negativity. There is also a fear that women will become a liability in the organisation. Indias legislative system has been fairly backward in introducing paid period leave, unlike other countries like Japan, South Korea, Italy, etc. Bihar is the only state in India that has provided women two days of special menstrual leave since 1992. India has also witnessed the Menstruation Benefits Bill 2017, which aimed to offer two days of leave and better rest facilities at the workplace, but is yet to receive ascent.Despite the big worry about female employment taking a hit, several companies in India already offer paid period leaves. Swiggy has announced two days of monthly time off to its women delivery partners. Discomfort from being out and about on the road while menstruating is probably one of the most underreported reasons why many women dont consider delivery to be a viable gig. To support them through any menstruation-related challenges, weve introduced a no-questions-asked, two-day paid monthly period time-off policy for all our regular female delivery partners. This industry-first initiative gives our female DEs the option to voluntarily take time off during their menstrual cycle and be eligible for a minimum earnings guarantee during that time, shared Mihir Shah, Swiggys Vice President of Operations, in a recent blog post.Start-ups like Culture Machine, Mathrumbi, and Wet and Dry, amongst others, also offer paid menstrual leaves either as a day off, half a day or two days off. Smiti Bhatt Deorah, COO Co-founder of Advantage Club, feels, To make the employee base diverse in their companies, HRs needs to create policies according to personalised requirements. Paid period level would help manage work lives easier for women. However, such an initiative should not be mandated by the government but should be decided by each organisation themselves depending on their desire to be more diverse and resource constraints. It will be definitely interesting to see what the corporate world does to attract talent in todays world.Smita Shetty Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of KelpHR, feels that we need a lot of sensitisation before period leaves become a common reality. Corporates are already cautious about hiring women; legal period leaves will cement it further. Policymakers should create more awareness and sensitisation before implementing it.Period leaves create an environment where female employees feel heard and respected. What do you feel about period leaves: do you think India should legalise them? Let us know in the comments below.