The idea women should be paid menstrual leave has resurfaced after a British gynecologist suggested it could boost productivity.
For many women, “that special time of the month” [their menstrual period] brings such pain and discomfort; they simply stay home from work. But what if women were allowed to take a few days off each month for menstrual leave, separate from their sick leave, without worrying about losing their jobs?
It’s an idea that isn’t new: several other east Asian countries have had menstrual leave policies and laws in place for decades. But the idea has become a hot point of discussion in the U.K. after being raised again at the Festival of Ideas, in Cambridge, last month.
According to Gynecologist Dr. Gedis Grudzinskas, monthly menstrual leave should be offered to workers worldwide.
“Some women feel really grotty when menstruating. Coming into work is a struggle and they feel lousy,” the professor of obstetrics and gynecology told the newspaper.
“When you feel like that, it’s harder to take pride in your work or perform as well. This is about employers being sensible and aware.”
Japan was the first country to enact menstrual leave laws into their labour standards. That was back in 1947, when women were flooding into the workplace and where decent washroom facilities were unavailable to them.
Under the Japanese law, women are allowed to stay home from work during their periods without fear of losing their jobs, although companies do not need to pay them for the days off. The law does not limit how many days off a month they can take.
But given that so many women suffer real, debilitating pain during their periods, Grudzinskas told the Mail Online that he thinks menstrual leave is an idea worth exploring further.
“Menstrual leave will make people feel more happy and comfortable in the workplace, which is a positive thing,” he said.