From Zambia to Japan: the push for paid menstrual leave | Fin24

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Many ladies have painful durations, however solely a handful of nations around the globe, largely in Asia, enable them to take day off work to recuperate.

Spain goals to grow to be the primary Western nation to observe their lead, with a draft invoice unveiled by the federal government Tuesday giving ladies limitless depart for interval ache, offered they’ve a physician’s be aware.

The proposal comes amid a marketing campaign by feminists worldwide to demolish taboos round durations, but it surely has drawn criticism from Spanish unions, who warn that, removed from liberating ladies, menstrual depart may immediate employers to prioritise males when hiring.

Here is a take a look at the way it works in different international locations:


Indonesia handed a legislation in 2003 giving ladies the correct to 2 days of paid menstrual depart per thirty days, with out giving prior discover.

But the supply is in observe discretionary.

Many employers enable solely at some point a month, whereas others give no menstrual depart in any respect, both as a result of they’re unaware of the legislation or select to ignore it.

An International Labour Organization report from 2003 warned that the requirement to present ladies 24 days menstrual depart on prime of their 12 days of annual depart represented a “significant cost” for a lot of employers, inflicting them to discriminate towards ladies of their hiring coverage.


In Japan, a legislation courting way back to 1947 states that firms should agree to present ladies menstrual depart in the event that they request it, for so long as they want it.

It doesn’t, nevertheless, require them to pay ladies throughout menstrual depart, however round 30 p.c of Japanese firms supply full or partial pay, based on a 2020 labour ministry survey.

Not many ladies make the most of the legislation, nevertheless. The survey of round 6,000 firms discovered that simply 0.9 p.c of eligible staff had taken menstrual depart.

South Korea 

In South Korea, ladies are entitled to at some point of unpaid menstrual depart per thirty days, with employers who refuse dealing with fines of as much as 5 million gained (R62 000).

The depart was paid till 2004 when South Korea went from a six-day to a five-day work week.

A 2018 survey confirmed larger take-up than in Japan, with a bit over 19 p.c of girls taking day off. But many mentioned they select to not, due to conservative or unfavourable work environments.


In Taiwan, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment provides ladies three days of menstrual depart per 12 months, which aren’t deducted from the statutory 30 days of normal sick depart.

Women can solely take at some point in any given month.

Like sick depart, staff on menstrual depart obtain solely 50 p.c of their wage.


Zambia turned the envy of different African international locations when it handed a legislation in 2015 permitting ladies to take a time off work throughout their interval, with out giving discover or supplying a physician’s be aware.

While the measure is mostly accepted and supported, not all employers willingly adjust to the legislation on what’s discreetly known as “Mother’s Day”.

But inspired by commerce unions ladies are beginning to train their proper, communications skilled and ladies’s rights advocate Ruth Kanyanga Kamwi informed AFP.

Australia, India, France: firms cleared the path

Some firms haven’t waited to be compelled by legislation to supply ladies menstrual depart.

They embrace the Victorian Women’s Trust, an Australian gender equality company, which presents staff 12 days of menstrual and menopause depart; Indian meals supply startup Zomato, which presents 10 days of interval depart; and French cooperative La Collective, which supplies employees as much as at some point of interval depart per thirty days.

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