These Asian menstrual leave policies appear to be based on the scientifically dubious notion that women who don’t rest during their menses will have difficulty in childbirth later. Some say the laws are therefore more about treating women as future baby-vessels than valued employees…
The fact is, menstruation is not debilitating for most women. But for up to 20 percent of women, period pain interferes with daily activities just as surely as a nasty cold or flu. Ample paid sick leave would seem to take care of the problem just as well without forcing women to share their lunar cycles with their bosses. It’s no coincidence that several of the countries with menstrual leave also have lackluster sick leave policies—neither Japan nor Korea mandate paid sick leave for non-serious illness.
But then again, neither does the United States. Perhaps we should start agitating for the Boxer-McConnell American Menstrual Leave Act after all?
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