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Thread: Menstrual Leave?

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Menstrual Leave?

    Menstrual Leave is a very Asian idea it seems with Taiwan being the latest nation to offer females monthly sick leave (3 days in Taiwan's case).

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_5359089.html
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...e-days/370789/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_leave
    In Indonesia, under the Labor Act of 1948, women have a right to two days of menstrual leave per month.[9]
    In Japan, Article 68 of the Labour Standards Law states "When a woman for whom work during menstrual periods would be specially difficult has requested leave, the employer shall not employ such woman on days of the menstrual period."[10][11] While Japanese law requires that a woman going through especially difficult menstruation be allowed to take leave, it does not require companies to provide paid leave or extra pay for women who choose to work during menstruation.
    In Korea, not only are female employees entitled to menstrual leave according to the Article 71 of the Labour Standards Law,[12] but they are also ensured additional pay if they do not take the menstrual leave that they are entitled to.[13]
    The Philippines government considered the House Bill 4888, known as the Menstruation Leave Act of 2008, which was initiated by the Alliance of Rural Concern (ARC) representative. The bill aimed to grant mandatory menstruation leave to all private and government female employees, except those pregnant and menopausal, at half pay.[14]
    In Russia, a draft law was proposed in 2013 to give women two days paid leave per month during menstruation.[15]
    In Taiwan, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment gives women three paid days per year from menstruation leave. [16]
    Is this an idea that should be exported to the west?

    Or is it paternalistic and insulting to women?

    Would it alter perceptions of women's competence in the workplace, and would it undermine their effectiveness and productivity as workers?

    Many have called for workers in general getting more or unlimited sick leave. Citing studies that indicate that unlimited sick leave actually leads to fewer days of lost work.

    ...but I tend to think these studies were conducted with employees who are working in fields that they enjoy, and not like most of us poor slobs.

    As for the ML, I personally think it is a paternalistic and insulting idea from my POV.

  2. #2
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    I think companies are more likely to use policies like this to put a thin veneer of gender equity over otherwise family unfriendly (and therefore woman unfriendly, until gender roles are vanquished anyway) policies like not having paid maternity leave and expecting employees to work long hours and come in on their days off. "Look at us, we're a woman-friendly company! What, you want equal pay, maternity leave, and work-life balance? But we already gave you those extra three days a year off for your period!"

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Unlimited Sick Leave: A business decision, not something to be regulated either way.

    Salaried: Keeping sick people out of the workplace is a smart policy anyway, but instead of encouraging absenteeism or abuse, salaried/professional workers should be provided with means to work remotely if possible.

    Hourly: For hourly production-oriented workers (i.e. blue collar, wage slaves), I don't see how unlimited sick leave could really work. Not because it encourages abuse, but because hourly work is usually directly tied to physical production or service. In an economy where we automate everything we can, the importance of workers in non-automated processes leaves even less slack. Businesses can't afford to pay direct hourly wages to workers who aren't there.

    Back to the OP's main question - Menstrual Leave: Using the guidance above, and treating menstruation as a health-related issue, it's a business decision that hinges on the employee's job role and status.

    I see no reason to construct this as paternalistic or insulting. The point of the benefit isn't to deem menstruating workers as a workplace liability. The point of the benefit is to acknowledge a gender-specific issue and provide a benefit. I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning behind providing it, but if employers want to, it would be bizarre for women to take offense.

    @starla I think they're saying 3 days a month, not a 3 days a year. All of a sudden, it's not such a paltry benefit.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I don't know how this would work. In theory, with sick leave, even if a company has generous benefits, they work on the honor system that if people aren't really sick they won't abuse them, and also that people don't tend to get sick regularly.

    Menstruation, on the other is expected to occur regularly. So you are looking at 2 days per month pretty much guaranteed. That's about 10% of working time.

    I assume, like other Asian work culture anecdotes (about Japanese workers not taking their vacations for example) there is some weird honor/obligation system that precludes most women from taking this time even if it's offered. I think the western world would enjoy it like the free lunch it would mostly be.

    OTOH, if the intent is that occasionally, menstruation is so uncomfortable that women don't feel like working, just take those days as regular sick days (assuming some are provided).

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Sorry, I should have clarified that the Asian nations cited, and companies like Nike that export work to agreeing outfits, have policies that offer one to several days a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polemarch View Post
    I think they're saying 3 days a month, not a 3 days a year. All of a sudden, it's not such a paltry benefit.
    According to the wikipedia article, Taiwan is giving 3 days a year.

    I agree with Senseye, that women in asia probably don't take it anyway. I also think that anyone in the US who took advantage of this policy would quickly find themselves on the wrong side of a performance plan. At the very least, they could forget about getting promoted or getting plum projects. That's how it works with "unlimited" sick leave. People who actually use it find that companies aren't sincere in their offer of unlimited sick leave. The unwritten rule where I worked was that you could take off 5 days a year before your sick leave started to affect your performance rating. So it's unlimited, but using it can still get you fired.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starla View Post
    The unwritten rule where I worked was that you could take off 5 days a year before your sick leave started to affect your performance rating. So it's unlimited, but using it can still get you fired.
    I can vouch for this where I work too. It's not like the corporate hierarchy will admit it, but you don't want to take too many sick days if you know what's good for you. I think during my companies last downsizing initiative, high sick leave takers were at the top of the list also.

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    malarkey oxyjen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polemarch View Post
    Unlimited Sick Leave: A business decision, not something to be regulated either way.

    Salaried: Keeping sick people out of the workplace is a smart policy anyway, but instead of encouraging absenteeism or abuse, salaried/professional workers should be provided with means to work remotely if possible.


    Hourly: For hourly production-oriented workers (i.e. blue collar, wage slaves), I don't see how unlimited sick leave could really work. Not because it encourages abuse, but because hourly work is usually directly tied to physical production or service. In an economy where we automate everything we can, the importance of workers in non-automated processes leaves even less slack. Businesses can't afford to pay direct hourly wages to workers who aren't there.

    Back to the OP's main question - Menstrual Leave: Using the guidance above, and treating menstruation as a health-related issue, it's a business decision that hinges on the employee's job role and status.

    I see no reason to construct this as paternalistic or insulting. The point of the benefit isn't to deem menstruating workers as a workplace liability. The point of the benefit is to acknowledge a gender-specific issue and provide a benefit. I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning behind providing it, but if employers want to, it would be bizarre for women to take offense.

    .
    I wonder how the above would actually work in practice somewhere? It's a nice idea for those days where a person has a cold, where they are contagious with something that is annoying but not an impediment to work. Working remotely while on sick leave is a mechanism to show that on those days you aren't "abusing" it, but I'm afraid using this too much would create a precedent that I would be "on/available" on those too-sick-to-work days.

    It's crazy the other corporate stories in here. When I was working shitty paying jobs I received 8 sick days my first year, 12 next, etc.

    Regarding the OP--@Senseye; pretty much said what I would have said. Just provide people with ample sick days. If a woman has such uncomfortable periods she is unable to work for several days each month, she should probably see a doctor for that anyway. Have the doctor write up some letter to take it up with the employer to document the need for days off (paid or unpaid) every month. Yes, it's invasive, but no more embarrassing than having to officially say you're taking "menstrual leave."

    Paternity leave is much more necessary but that is a conversation for another day.
    Last edited by oxyjen; 05-21-2014 at 09:58 PM.

  9. #9
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Why not just build menstruation huts in the parking lot, and they can work from there? As long as they don't touch anyone or try to go into the Temple, that should work fine for everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  10. #10
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Ozzy, I already started this thread. Except without saying that word in the title. I kinda hate that word.

    I took menstrual leave last month. I got tired of lying, so when the doctor came to my house, I told him I was on my period and he wrote a certificate for 24 hours of rest. "I know this is ridiculous, but my company requires this." He didn't want to argue.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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