Teachers at Navjyothy school in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Teachers at Navjyothy school in Kerala's rural Thiruvananthapuram are all smiles. They will be entitled to one day of period leave every month. Caught by surprise after the announcement, Biji RS who has been teaching for 21 years, told the Principal candidly, "Ma'am I actually needed this period leave today" and was offered the option of taking the rest of the day off, if she so desired.
Around 1,000 unaided schools in Kerala under the banner of All Kerala Self Financing School Federation have announced that close to 50,000 teachers will get paid leave of an additional 12 days every year during their menstruation. And while Navjyothy school has applied for state recognition again this year, teachers here feel they've got a head start. "To the question if period leave is feasible for all schools across Kerala? My answer is, why not! Everyone should implement this. These are biological needs and it's a matter of one day a month. Any teacher can cover up with a substitute," Mallika Venukumar, Principal of Navjyothy school told NDTV.
Their inspiration was Malayalam news channel - Mathrubhumi, the first media organisation in Kerala which only last month declared 'First Day Of Period Leave'
. The news channel was the second to follow suit after Mumbai based Culture Machine announced their new leave policy in a video which went viral
Bindu Mol OS, a teacher in her 40s said, "I feel dizzy, severe cramps and inability to walk on my first day of period. I used to ask for leave and not come to teach. Now to get paid leave for this is excellent." But while the leave is called 'First Day of Period Leave', teachers like Chitra say they will go by the spirit and not the exact words. "Every woman knows which is her worst day - first or third or whenever. She can apply for that day as period leave."
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