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‘Menstrual leave’: the next workplace perk for women?

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HC Online | 04 Dec 2014, 09:36 AM Agree 0
An internationally recognised figure in the field of Reproductive Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics has recently suggested that women should be entitled to paid ‘menstrual leave’ at work.
  • Ann-Marie | 04 Dec 2014, 12:23 PM Agree 0
    Let's just create another reason to discriminate against women, sorry I think this is just crazy!
  • Catherine Cahill | 04 Dec 2014, 12:32 PM Agree 0
    I have become part of an International program (Days For Girls) which helps women in 3rd World Countries continue to participate in school, work and the community when they are menstruating. Without this practical assistance most currently are compelled to remain isolated in their own rooms/homes. This program has been set up to help them to be freed of the societal assumption that they are incapable of contributing for a number of days every month.

    Many people have worked extremely hard over many decades to assert the right of women to be treated equally in the workplace. One critical issue historically, has been the claim that women are somehow incapable of functioning for a part of every month.

    For most women, this is simply not true.

    I do not want my workplace to assume I am debilitated once a month just because of my gender.

    If it is appropriate to create special leave for on-going medical issues, then it should be open to all who live with chronic illness, chronic pain and/or mental illness.
  • John | 04 Dec 2014, 03:29 PM Agree 0
    Getting an employer to pay for your abortion. I can see that one taking off............not.
  • Mila | 04 Dec 2014, 03:48 PM Agree 0
    Exactly my first thought Ann-Marie, just another reason to discriminate... no, thank you.
  • Ronnie | 04 Dec 2014, 04:05 PM Agree 0
    I couldn't agree more with Anne Marie and Catherine. I would not want my workplace to assume I require time off once a month or be aware of what is my personal business. But why not do it, it's only another 12 - 36 days off a year on top of the 10 already allowed, but hey that will stop with a pregnancy whereby you will be away for up to 2 years. (I am not condemning Maternity Leave) And Yes, pay for terminations too for accidental pregnancies, why not. Doesn't anybody get it that you need to be at work and reliably so, to be of benefit to an employer. In the end it will be impossible for women of child bearing age to find employment. It certainly is just crazy.
  • caca | 04 Dec 2014, 04:11 PM Agree 0
    Actually let me tell you that I am really sick once a month and if I had that day it would mean so much to me. It's not necessarily the case for all women but in truth, it is something that we deal with on top of everything else.

  • Sarah | 05 Dec 2014, 10:25 AM Agree 0
    Anne Marie and Catherine are spot on - What a ridiculous idea. Most women cope fine once a month and we don't need any further stigma around this or discrimination.
  • Catherine Cahill | 05 Dec 2014, 11:09 AM Agree 0
    caca - as I said, if additional Special Leave is to be including in workplace policy, then anyone who has a chronic illness or injury should be included.
  • caca | 05 Dec 2014, 12:23 PM Agree 0
    Yes you're right Catherine. I was only commenting on what the actual article was about.
    I think that the real solution is flexible working environment. Often you see that parents are accommodated with flexible situations where as those without families don't get that benefit so whether it's your time of the month, migraine, children, chronic illness, depressed/mental illness bad day etc then having the opportunity to work from home for a portion of the day and take sick leave for the rest of the hours or even having the option to have an interruption free period of time so that you can concentrate on work without having outside stressers - whatever the arrangement would be better than having multiple type of leave options.
    Policies often cloud the need for a conversation to be happening between the manager, employee and then fitting that into the needs of the business.
  • Just Asking | 05 Dec 2014, 12:28 PM Agree 0
    If menstrual leave is discriminatory, is domestic violence leave discriminatory as well?
    • Mac | 09 Sep 2015, 12:02 PM Agree 0
      Domestic violence leave has not to my knowledge been suggested as being only available to women. I think your assumption that it would only apply to women may demonstrate a discriminatory bias.
  • Jeff | 05 Dec 2014, 12:31 PM Agree 0
    It sounds like just another excuse for all the bleeding hearts to take a day off. (excuse the pun). The problem here in Australia is that we hear stuff like this, grab it and run with it. What more do employers have to pay for?
  • Ann-Marie | 05 Dec 2014, 01:20 PM Agree 0
    @ Just Asking
    Menstruating is a normal part of life that in most cases is merely an inconvenience.
    Domestic violence is not a normal part of life. That said, while I am a big supporter of educating and protecting victims of domestic violence, I am divided on how much of this should become an employers responsibility.
  • Catherine Cahill | 05 Dec 2014, 02:10 PM Agree 0
    "Just Asking" - yes, I do believe Domestic Violence Leave is discriminatory. Why does someone who is by their partner in their home have an entitlement to leave that other people who are injured in other circumstances do not have? Once again, if we are creating extra Leave provisions why would an injury suffered at the hands of a stranger not be allowable?
  • Catherine Cahill | 05 Dec 2014, 02:18 PM Agree 0
    And from a practical point of view, I have created Policies for Employers which allow for anyone living with a chronic illness or injury (as certified by their treating medical practitioner) to be able to access their sick leave without the need for medical certificates on each occasion.

    I have also crafted policies which enable employees to salary sacrifice for additional Leave - for any reason.

    This allows an employee who wants or needs additional Leave (beyond the paid 20 Annual Leave Days, Public Holidays, and 10 Sick Leave Days) to apply for additional days.

    The additional Leave can be taken in bulk (to allow for a longer holiday), to coincide with School Holidays, or even to allow for a 9 day fortnight, or Day off a Month; or a Sabbatical .

    As long as the additional Leave does not interfere with the ability to perform the inherent requirements of the role, this would seem to be the fairest way to balance employee and employer needs.
  • Just Asking | 05 Dec 2014, 03:37 PM Agree 0
    Catherine, agree. Though from a social point of view perhaps it is one way of breaking down the barriers to remove it from society.
  • Jenny | 08 Dec 2014, 03:18 PM Agree 0
    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?? If you have an illness or injury, whether it is chronic or recurring, that is affecting your ability to work in any way, TALK to your manager & HR and put together a plan to manage it. Be prepared to NEGOTIATE. Flexibility is a two way street. There is a raft of leave & flexible working options available to virtually everyone. Talk to your union or Fair Work if there seem to be no options where you work.
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