Menstrual Leave From work....yay or nay?

United States
August 18, 2009 8:16pm CST
i ran across an article a while ago that talked about the fact that in some other countries, women have the legal right to miss two to three days per month for "menstrural leave" during there periods. Unfortunatly i can't find the article now to post a link, as i read it a while ago, and just now thought about the fact that it would make a good topic. The reasoning behind it is that many women have lots of physical issues during this time of month, pain, cramps etc, as well as trouble concentrating and doing their best work. The article also mentioned that in yet other countries, women get excused from certain types of work (working in high altitudes, in cold temperatures, in water etc.) durig their periods, as things such as this can cause an increase in possible painful symptoms or just plain awkward situations. Why do you think of this? I am totally torn on these laws. A large part of me thinks that these are sexist, and in a way making it seem that they think of menstruation as a disease and something to be looked down upon, as women are "useless" during this time, but then at other times, (particulary if i am having a rough period with cramps and what not) i wish we had laws like this in the US, as sometimes i can't even fathom going to work, or am in pain while at work and would rather just be at home, taking some ibuprofin and curling up in bed with a heating pad, but i don't have that many sick days form work , so i suffer through, even though i know i am not performing at 100%
5 people like this
23 responses
@chaime (1153)
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Yay! Since I suffer from dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) I can relate definitely relate to this and I'm sure that many women will benefit if there will be two or three days to rest due to the symptoms presented during menstruation. Yes, I also see your point when you say that it can be termed sexist. Maybe it can be an optional leave or maybe guidelines can be set as to how the leave will be utilized, like when the symptoms are heavy enough that a lady can make use of the leave to rest. I am not sure, I'm just grasping at straws here but there might be merit in making laws that can help ease the pain of the women during menstruation.
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
What I also know about this is that if the company will not allow you to file it under your regular sick leave, you can file it under your SSS sick leave, that is if you are in the Philippines.
3 people like this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Let me correct myself, that you cannot file it as a sss sickness leave :P.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
I am sure if anything like that would ever come to fruition her ein the US, the woman would have to have a dr.s note stating that she has severe symptoms and needs to be allowed to be excused a day or two.
1 person likes this
@anne25penn (3310)
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Here in the Philippines there is a provision that a women can file for leave for one day during their monthly period. It is in the labor law. The only problem is that this "excuse" is not validated by some companies, especially multinational companies. So even if we have this law or leave, very few women who have problems with their reproductive health avail of this leave.
@chaime (1153)
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Hi Anne, really? I didn't know that. But if there is maybe we should band together to make it a valid reason to file a leave, and if its in the law shouldn't the companies be mandated to follow it?
3 people like this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Hi Chaime! I had to do a little googling just to make sure that my memory serves me right. Here is a website where it states that it has been passed into law since 2004. The only problem here is that very few people know about this. http://www.femalebattle.net/nov2004index.htm
3 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Tanks for your input...it is wonderful to be able to hear form someone who actually lives ina county where they have laws similar to this. It sucks that some companies get out of having to follow it though.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
truth is whenever it's that time of the month for me, i never have menstrual cramps, i just become uncomfortable and when that happens i take some medicine. so i can never really sympathize that much. but if that is true for some countries, then good for them. when i went to nursing school, our teachers told us that mesntural cramps could never be an acceptable reason for us to be absent from hospital duty or classes. they always tell us that there are a lot of medicines around to help us alleviate the symptoms.
3 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
count yourself among the lucky to never have experienced the discomfort of menstrural cramps. And i agree, there are medicines to alliviate many of the symptoms, but some people have such severe problems with it that even the medicines dont help much, and they are still nauseous and dizzy and have intense headaches during this time.
1 person likes this
@Archie0 (4669)
19 Aug 09
Well to get 3 to 4 monthly off i think here it is impossible, because we are not allowed to take more than 4 holidays in a month, and they are our weekly off's.But getting 4 holidays extra being into menstural case is really an impossible thing.
3 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Yes, it owuld be hard to accomodate this in most businesses. It would probably make them really not want to hire as many women because they would feel they aren't going to be as productive as men would be.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
yes, I like the ideas it is worse and painful to go to work when you have cramps. Even, their is Mefenamic and anti-inflammatory medicines, then with warm liniments to put on the belly, it still hurts. I think it is good to implement the ideas to women who really experience excessive bad symptoms of dysmenorrhea and with a doctor notes to prove that she indeed experience the bad flow. It really have affects the productivity of women and if this kind of option is consider, I am one of those women who will be glad to this policy on allowing women to take a 2 day leave every month. Then, I am willing to make an overtime everyday just to avail it
• United States
19 Aug 09
as i was just saying in my past post...i agree..it woudln't even have to be paid time off..just the ability to not get in trouble at work for calling out do to this..and then even making up the hours at a later time or staying extra through out the rest of the week...
1 person likes this
@agv0419 (3029)
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
I'm not sure but I as far I can remember it is included in the sick leave of the women here in the Philippines. Women who have dysmenorrhea and heavy menstrual bleeding are included in the sick leave. As a woman it is very difficult to concentrate at work if you experiencing pain due to your menstruation. Employer should understand the situation of their female employees.
3 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
I do agree it is a nice perk, particulaly if you have a really rought time with it. I wish the option were there for more of us, if we needed it due to painful periods, to take time off with ot it counting against us. Unfortunatly i only get 48 hours, or 6 days of paid sick time off...any more than that and it is unpaid, and if there is too much i can get written up and in trouble!
1 person likes this
@playapal (894)
• United States
19 Aug 09
As a women who dealt with horrible menstrual cycles until a few months ago, I would have certainly appreciated the option. I don't want to go into all the gory details but there were times that I simply couldn't work, I couldn't stay out of the bathroom long enough as well as the pain that was involved. Thank goodness I had an employer that all I had to say was "woman problems," on the phone and I could see him blush 20 miles away. He was very considerate as well as embarrased and certainly didn't want to know anything else about it. I was lucky that I had plenty of sick time so it didn't effect my pay. I don't really know how to go about it without being called sexist, but the idea of a couple of personal days a month may be the solution.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Wow, i am sorry to hear you used to have such a hard time with it. I know of other woman who have had severe symptoms/problems such as this, and i am just thankful that mine aren't that bad...almost makes me feel bad for complaning about my problems!! I can totally see what you mean about being able to "see your manager blush, 20 miles away through the phone" when you would call him up and let him know the deal. Many men just don't know what to say or how to handle these kinds of issues...
1 person likes this
@playapal (894)
• United States
19 Aug 09
It was actually nice that I didn't have to explain anything to him, just those simple words, "womens problems." I recently had a hysterectomy so I will never have to worry about that again.....YEAH!
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Lucky you! I, unfortunately, being not quite thirty still have quite a few years of this left ahead of me....great to have such understanding peopel to work for by the way, i don't think i could ever call my boss and tell him i needed to take a day off for women's problems.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I'm torn too. I used to suffer horrible periods. Still ...it was life and no one gave me any lee-way because i was having my period...not my parents...not school ...and later not work places. I hesitate on using that as an excuse to get out of work as women so don't want to be discriminated against and yet...that is a woman's problem. Looking at it from the employers point of view....I can see why such policies could make him think twice about hiring a woman when most of us are fine with working during periods. If the employer hires such a woman and she takes time off then he is having to pay another person to work instead provided he has another person willing to cover those hours and how much notice does the employer get? Does he still have to pay this worker that deems herself unable to work. I may not be a good judge...I went back to work after having a baby....I've never missed work due to such reasons so....I have a hard time justifying it.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Aug 09
Yes, it would be difficult for an employer to not have some biased opinion. I don;t beleive however, that this is paid leave, just the ability to take leave from work if it is too much to handle during that first day or two, with out it counting agianst them as an absense, more os a medical condition. I too would probably not use this even if it were availiable to me...as i would feel as if i was slighting my employer and would feel worse about putting the extra work on others than i would feel about not being in my tip top shape!
2 people like this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
20 Aug 09
it's a tough question for sure. I would think that the women would have to have a doctors note. I don't really know...don't want to judge others but I was never allowed to use my period as an excuse for anything and I had some really rough ones...i worked all the time...had a social life....I worked harder when I had my period but I did not miss work as a result. Still....there are some who may have had it worse than me and I don't think they should be punished for something beyond their control....Maybe it should depend on the type of job. An office job could probably handle the absenteeism with a lot less hardship than say a convenience store or small restraunt. Where I work....it would mean my boss having me or my co-worker fill in and he would be paying us overtime....he should not have to do that each and every month....and that is if we could do it every month.
2 people like this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
A large part of me thinks that these are sexist, and in a way making it seem that they think of menstruation as a disease and something to be looked down upon - I have no idea why you would think this. You said yourself that the reasoning behind the menstrual leave is not the act of menstruation itself, but for the physical issues that surface during the time women experience it. Which is not a disease per se but has proven to be debillitating enough for others to actually BE considered a disease, so. I really don't see how it can be sexist when, for all intents and purpose, it is more logical to assume that a woman wrote that bill (and pushed for it to be passed) by virtue of... guys just not really getting the whole dysmenorrhea problem. More than a sick leave, isn't it more similar to a pregnancy leave? For me, I would definitely push for this. I feel severe physical strain every time it's my first-through-third days. It is crippling enough that I sometimes can't get up, even. Add the fact that I travel by public transit in a vehicle usually filled to the brim in weather that is usually hot and... DEFINITELY rooting for this, I tell you.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
I just feel that many, particularly men, would see it as a way to think that women are not as capable as they are, which would be a hige setback, as we have fought so long and hard for equal rights and whatnot. I suppose comparing it to a maternity leave would be more accurate...but then again, now many many businesses offer "paternity" leave for new fathers too...so the only way they would be able to keep it fair would be to give men extra days off as well...and in this economy, businesses just coudln't afford that!
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Oh, I'm pretty sure that any guy who grew up in a patriarchal society with ingrained values of patriarchy won't need something like "menstrual pain leaves" to belittle women and their capability to do their job. Sexism isn't a thing of the past, after all. By the way, I brought up pregnancy leave because it is the closest type of paid leave to a hypothetical menstrual leave. In that women can't help it that their bodies are being strained by an ever-growing fetus, just as they can't help it if their menstrual pains reach a level where they can't work. Paternity leaves are current types of paid VL and it's not something cooked up to make things even or fair for the men——paternity leaves were created in order to have the husband lend support to their wives during their last months of pregnancy + early months of motherhood. It is not a means of evening out the number of leaves the men and women have. Paternity leaves were created for the women as well. So unless significant others/husbands/whathaveyou can somehow lessen the pain and problems caused by menstrual pains, I don't see why they need to be given certain types of paid VL in this case.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
19 Aug 09
Hmm. This is definitely a Yay for me.. I have 15 sick days in my work, and I usually use almost all of them for this kind of thing. I just hate filing all those leaves, specially because it's possible to covert the sick leaves to money... Though I agree with someone who commented that we should have a medical certificate first before we can avail of this.. because it's subject to abuse by some women who just really don't want to go to work.
• United States
19 Aug 09
lucky you getting that much paid sick time...i get less than half of that at my job, well...i can use more, but it would cut into my paid vacation time as well...I wouldn't even mind if it had to be unpaid time off...as long as there was no way they could fire you for it, as it is a natural thing. If it were unpaid timeoff, you would get less people abusing the policy as well.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
27 Aug 09
that's true... if it's unpaid then there is a lesser chance that it would be abused by other people.. the number of sick days here is the standard in our country.. though using up all the leaves is not advisable, cause in our company it's convertible to cash, plus it's one of the basis for your promotion. That is actually one of my major problems
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Aug 09
No. Unless the woman can provide a note from a medical doctor that she needs to have time off every month for a health reason she shouldn't get it. That isn't fair to men.
2 people like this
@rhoday (152)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I believe this way to that they need a note.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
I can see that, particularly now with modern medicine and also with the modern convieniences we are afforded to take care of ourselves during this time. Some women do have abnormaly harsh symptoms, and maybe if they had a note from a doctor it would be ok. I don't know as if i think it wouldn't be fair to men, as they don't have these issue to deal with, but i do think it would put a stigma on women and we could be considered weak, and unable to handle our day to day responsibilities. I just thought it was interesting that they have this practice in some countries.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
19 Aug 09
DOnt know about that at all never had the problem but I have saw several woman double over in pain and truely not able to work so maybe would be a good idea but only for the ones that suffer like this
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Count yourself among the lucky then that you never had to experience such pain. Most aren't SO bad...but it can be uncomfortable.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
19 Aug 09
yup I did count myself lucky!
2 people like this
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I've actually been lucky enough to not have to deal the the kinds of premenstral symptoms that a lot of women have to deal with. But I don't think that allowing a menstrual leave from work is a good idea. You're right, it would definitely be viewed as a sexist thing. For each and every thing that they allow for a woman and equal thing should be allowed for a man. The only circumstance under which it should be allowed is if your gynecologist were to write a person that suffers from severe side effects a note that would allow them to start an FMLA claim in the United States. That way a woman would be allowed the time that she needed but it wouldn't be instituting a new thing that a man could complain about.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
You re right, i think the only way it would be fair would be if it was under a doctors reccomendation with a note, then it could be treated like any other medical issue, i don't think a blanket "all menstruating women should get time off during their periods" law would ever make it very far.
@YoungInLove (1254)
• Canada
19 Aug 09
Ah, I guess it all depends really. When I was younger I had such bad cramps that I would sometimes pass out from the pain (also I had a blood sugar problem or something, so Id be unbelievably weak during that time and have passed out) Once I went on birth control though all those issues went away. I think Its a good idea for someone who has sever problems to the point they would be in tears from pain all day, or are very weak or something. But just to let a woman go home from it I dont agree with. We all found ways to best suit our bodies during this time so their shouldnt be any easy way out for some people. But I mean if its clearly a problem where they just can be at work then they shouldnt have to stay or lose out on it. I dont know, this is an iffy situation. Pretty much, unless its absolutely unbearable, you can be at work.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
That would be the hard part though, being able to distinguish between those women who had unbearable symptoms and those who just wanted to take extra days off with out being reprimanded for it.
@jimntam (93)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I'm torn on this issue as well. Although it would be nice to have that first day or two off when the cramps are the worst. I usually have jobs that are mostly employeed by women. So I can picture half the staff wanting the same days off. It can be hard enough finding coverage for one employee let alone 3 or 4 or more. I guess if the cramps are so bad that a woman can't work through it, then maybe she should see her doctor.
• United States
19 Aug 09
Yes, it is such a toss up between wanting to be for laws like this, as you could see times they would benefit oneself and make you more comfortable, but at the same time, it isn't really practical.
@rhoday (152)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I can't say that they should take the day off work. I use to have to work even when I was pregnant and now look at how thing's are done. That is what get's me, these day's they act like the slightest pain and they can take a day off work for it. In the old day's there was no real good excuse to be out for work unless if you was really ill. I think if they need the day's off they need a doctor's note saying it's really to much for them, otherwise some women will take advantage of it.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
I agree whole heartedly. There are certainly going to be people out there who would take advantage of it just to have a couple days off. I personaly woudln't. I HATE missing work, even when i am deathly ill....i feel like i am letting my co-workers down and putting un-neccisary strain and extra work upon them. I suppose it is just a cultural thing. Particularly here in the US where women strive to show themselves as equals to men, i don't htink many women would go for it, though as i said, there have been days where my time of the month made me feel SO miserable i wished i could have stayed home..but i tought it out LoL
1 person likes this
@subha12 (18453)
• India
19 Aug 09
I think If its really very rough, we should be allowed some relief.I know how bad we feel in few months during first few days. But having a leave each month, is no for me. Other people can then point out when we are having periods.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
yeah, it might as well be a big blinking neon sign over your head saying "i am menstruating..stay outta my way" if you always take a couple days off at the same time every month. After reading an article that another responder posted, it looks like even though this option is availiable, and has to be allowed by law, many women don't use it, as they probably don't get PAID days off...just excused days off that woudln't count against their records. So i am sure it is only those who need it who use it.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101763)
• United States
19 Aug 09
Since I do not know which countries, I will also add that in some religions a woman on her period is unclean. I was fortunate not to have menstrual difficulties often when I was younger, unless I was under a lot of stress. Most of my jobs involved working with other women and I think in those situations it is easier to deal with painful symptoms. I think menstrual difficulties ought to be better examined and treatments provided that are useful without being mind numbing.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Aug 09
Yes, having other women around who can be more sympatetic and understanding of issues can be a huge help! And i agree, why not take some of the money the government spends on frivolous studies, and put it towards working to something that will ease the discomfort of soemthignt that half the population of the country has to deal with on a monthly basis!
1 person likes this
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
27 Aug 09
Hmm, paid leave or unpaid? As great as it would be to have paid leave just for a period it would just be absolutely taken advantage of and I really don't think it's necessary in most jobs. Unpaid is a little more realistic because it isn't a cost to the company and there would be less chance of women taking advantage of it. However it makes sense in certain professions, particularly ones where peoples' lives are on the line. If someone isn't able to perform at their best then it really is a detriment to 'make' them work.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Aug 09
from what i am to beleive, it is unpaid leave, but onpaid leave that woudln't count against you at work on your attendance..so "excused" leave. I know that where i work, and many, if not most other places, there are a certain number of days you are allowed to be absent from work (whehter paid sick days, or unpaid) before there is some sort of diciplinary action. With this, a woman would have two "excused" abscenses per month that wouldn't count against her.
@linyun (52)
• China
20 Aug 09
There is no real equal between men and women.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Aug 09
I am sorry, but i don't agree with that statement.