Some women have had to quit their jobs after deciding to expand their families. Most women have done this at least once— taken a day off work due to an “upset stomach” when, in fact, they were suffering from terrible period cramps.
At Leapfrog, we want to foster a culture of equality and trust. We want to have a workspace where women can feel safe, heard, and accepted.
Women@Leapfrog, a women-led community within the company, voiced their opinions about the change that was needed. For this, we made some important updates to our existing leave policies. This is one step forward to having a more inclusive workspace for everyone.
We’ve got you covered! 😉🤭
Crafting initial ideas
With full support from the company, Women@Leapfrog began their research on what family leave looks like in companies within and outside of Nepal.
Most countries offer a parental leave of 3-6 months with provisions for partial to full payment. The Government of Nepal mandates 60 days of fully paid maternity leave, along with 38 days of additional unpaid leave. But despite having strong legal provisions, only some companies offer maternity leave support and flexible work hours.
Menstrual leave was another hot topic on the table, and there are only a few companies that provide this leave in Nepal. It is a controversial topic as some people debate that this leave is shifting the gender parity backward in the workplace instead of going forward. But we believe that women should not have to show up at work when in extreme pain, and definitely not worry about the number of sick leaves they have left.
And so, a movement started. A movement to call out the problems, and figure out the solutions.
3 months of fully paid maternity leave
At Leapfrog, we have extended maternity leave to 90 days (fully paid), which they can avail of before or after childbirth. On top of that, new moms can also choose to work from home for the next 180 days with a reduced workload. And for dads, they can take 15 days of paid leave, and additional 30 days of work from home.
When Rajiya Rijal, PM, became a mother for the first time, she had to quit her job. This culture isn’t uncommon in Nepal. She was denied getting any flexibility in her work hours, during and after her pregnancy. To take proper care of herself and her baby, she had no option but to quit. That’s the reality of most working women today.
She shares, “Having worked at Leapfrog for a few years, I knew it had a different culture. It was this compassionate work environment that encouraged me to expand my family. This time, when I was pregnant with my second child, I felt supported from the very beginning. As a result, this year I have been able to accomplish a lot and grow professionally as well. I have been blessed with a baby girl and got promoted in the same year! This wouldn’t have been possible without Leapfrog’s maternity leave policy and its amazing work culture.”
As her return-to-work date is nearing, she started getting insecure and doubtful of herself. Will she be able to juggle her work and her motherly duties properly?
But with support from her team and 6 hours of flexible work schedule, she’s confident that she can do it.
Introducing menstrual leave
As cliche as it sounds, the first day of menstruation is a nightmare for a lot of women. Up to 20% of women suffer from painful menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea. Most of them have common symptoms: painful cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, it even leads to terrible migraines. And when we don’t know the extent of their pain, it’s easy to shove the idea of painkillers onto them and move on.
After all, painkillers are meant to kill your pain, right? Right, but they also have adverse health effects. Sometimes, taking the day off with a hot water bag and a cup of warm tea sets everything right.
So, to help our awesome women survive through that time of the month, we have introduced 6 days of paid period leave policy that wouldn’t count towards sick leave. Because menstruation isn’t a sickness, it’s a natural biological function, which might be too much to bear at times.
Why is menstrual leave important?
First, let’s talk about what actually happens when a woman is menstruating. The tissues lining the uterus break and fall apart and the muscles start having contractions, similar to labor pain. Sometimes, the contractions are so strong that it causes the nearby blood vessels to burst open. This cuts off oxygen supply to the uterus. The lack of oxygen then causes extreme cramps, along with other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and migraines.
Women cannot avoid menstruation or the extent of pain they face. But, as a company, we can help them feel comfortable and manage their symptoms better.
So, we have introduced 6 days of paid period leave for all permanent female employees in the company.
We’ve got you covered!
We are proud to have some of the strongest women in our company. Updating the maternity leave and adding menstrual leave to our policies was a much-needed step. We hope that this change helps working women be more confident in pursuing the career they want.
Here’s to celebrating all the awesome women at Leapfrog!