Menstrual leave is one of the subjects that is considered argumentative. The act is regarded sexist or criticizing of women’s work performance.
Menstrual leave is when women have the option of taking paid or unpaid leave from their workplace when menstruating, and symptoms cause her to be unable to work because of it.
Every girl has had one of those days when the cramps kick in too hard and we can barely stand up and get ready for work. Those days just make us want to stay in bed and impatiently wait till your period is over.
Going to school for 6 hours or going to work for 8 hours seems impossible since menstruation can cause pain that can be either 2/10 or downright intolerable. Menstrual leave, doesn’t matter who’s for and against it, is very much needed.
The idea behind menstrual leave was originated in Japan in the early 1900s. “Sex in Education”, also known as “A Fair Chance for Girls” was one of the first written studies of the matter by physician Edward Clark in 1873. According to Clark, women must follow the “law of periodicity”, which roughly translates into taking a break during their periods.
Nowadays, menstrual leave is becoming more relevant. With more legislation and laws being passed, the act is being taken more seriously.
How was the idea of menstrual leave born?
Laws of the act were proposed as early as the 20th century. The legislation has incited controversy between people who are for and against it, as it is debated whether menstrual leave is a medical necessity or means of discrimination.
During your teenage years, menstruation is approached with more sympathy as opposed to adulthood. Period pains do not go away as you get older, but not everyone understands it. The topic of menstrual cramps is either dismissed or met with oblivious looks.
The concept of menstrual leave started after WW2 in Japan. According to the 1947 Labour Standards Law, women with painful periods or jobs that could intensify and worsen menstrual pain were allowed “seirikyuuka”, which translates into “physiological leave”.
Why did it make sense to pass it into law? Back then, many women had been working in factories, mines and such places. The biggest downside to that was the minimal sanitary facilities.
Although nowadays access to sanitary products has improved in Japan, they still do not want to get rid of menstrual leave. Employers who are for and against it do not have a say in the matter, but they are not required to provide women with paid leave or extra pay if they choose to work on their periods.
Being for and against menstrual leave does not change the fact that the act exists in some countries
Laws and legislation regarding the matter continue to spark discussion among parties who are for and against it.
Although menstrual leave is associated with being counterproductive, we are witnesses of laws and legislation being passed in several countries around the world whether you’re for or against it. With negative stereotypes of female employees reinforced because of laws, some countries understand the importance of menstrual leave.
The stigma of menstrual pain impedes the issue from being discussed. Laws and legislation of menstrual leave exist in some Asian countries. Among them are Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Zambia and some Chinese provinces. Menstrual leave legislation was amended in Taiwan in 2013, where it is said that women are guaranteed 3 days of menstrual leave per year plus 30 days of half-paid ordinary sick leave.
The extra 3 days were added after seeing that menstrual leave and sick leave is deemed as a violation of women’s rights. Those 3 days also do not come with half-pays when women workers surpass the standardized 30 days.
South Korean women employees and students have the right to take days off during their periods as sick leave. Article 71 of the Labour Standards Law states that women employees are also guaranteed additional pay if they don’t take their entitled menstrual leave.
This policy has been regarded as a type of reverse discrimination from men and the act has sparked controversy among people. Indonesian women, under the Labor Act of 1948, have 2 days a month of menstrual leave. In Zambia, menstrual leave is called “Mother’s Day”. Zambian female employees are entitled to have a day off each month of their periods.
From the Western countries, Italy might be the first to provide paid menstrual leave for female workers.
Menstrual leave is slowly being included in corporate laws and legislation
Whether you’re for or against the act, menstrual leave legislation can be included in companies and gradually become an international law.
In Nike’s Code of Conduct, menstrual leave was introduced in 2007. Wherever the company operates, the law is implemented whether the country has the act of legislation or not. Nike also necessitates their business partners to follow their lead by passing menstrual leave laws with the help of Memorandum of Understanding.
Others who have fought for the amendment of menstrual leave legislation include the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). They initiated a movement for menstrual leave for women workers at Toyota, where they requested 12 days of paid menstrual leave for women a year.
The digital media company Culture Machine in India included in their corporate legislation that women are allowed to have a paid day off during their periods.
Why are people either for or against menstrual leave?
Why does the act of legislation and passing laws argumentative?
The term “menstrual leave” can provoke many emotions. People who are against it assume that it is an excuse to take a day off. They do not believe that cramps can be that bad.
They claim that implementing the policy will reassure that female employees are unreliable workers. Why is it that Asian countries, where discrimination is widely practiced, have laws of menstrual leave?
The answer is because they believe that women risk difficulties in childbirth when they do not rest on their periods. The reason is sexist as it shows that women’s real job is to bear children.
Hopefully, Italy will become the first to amend legislation for the right reasons. That is, menstrual pain is real, and we should have the right for menstrual leave.
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