Menstrual periods can be painful for female workers and even prevent them from being productive at work.
Spain recently joined the list of the few countries that offer menstrual leave for female workers. The leave is expected to be three days every month but can be extended to five days if the employee is experiencing painful periods.
However, some experts are against menstrual leave, believing it might further widen the gender inequality gap.
Nevertheless, here are countries offering menstrual leave for female employees:
Japan introduced menstrual leave in the labor law in 1947. Under Article 68, the law mandates that employers cannot ask women who experience difficult periods to work on those days.
Scholars have traced the call for such leave to a strike by female conductors working for the Tokyo Municipal Bus Company in 1928. At the end of World War II, the debate was reignited by women, desperately seeking jobs, who found a lack of adequate sanitary facilities at workplaces.
Indonesia is another Asian country that became an early adoptee of the menstrual leave policy. The policy, which was introduced in 1948 and restructured in 2003, says that female workers experiencing menstrual pain are not obliged to work on the first two days of their cycle.
In South Korea, Article 73 of the labor law provides for monthly “physiologic leave,” under which all female workers can get a day’s leave every month.
An Asiana airlines official in 2021 was indicted by a local court for refusing period leave sought by flight attendants. Dismissing the claim that the employees did not prove whether they were menstruating, the court fined the official $1,790.
Article 14 of Taiwan’s gender equality in employment law grants female employees the right to request a day off every month for period leave at half their regular wage. However, if more than three such leaves are taken in a year, the additional days are counted toward sick leave.
Vietnam is another Asian country to factor in menstruation days for female workers. Its labor law stipulates a 30-minute break for women every day of their period cycle. In a 2020 reform, menstrual leave of three days a month was added. Female workers who choose to not take such leave need tobe paid extra.
In Africa, Zambia introduced the concept of a Mother’s Day, in which a female worker is entitled to one day leave every month without giving a reason or requiring a medical certificate.
Although not mandated by national law, a Los Angeles-based maker of a popular astrology app and a global software company in the US implemented the policy.
In India, food delivery app Zomato brought in menstrual leave in 2020. Australia’s Modibodi, a period underwear company, launched a policy in 2021 offering 10 days of paid leave annually for reasons such as menstruation and menopause.