Menstrual leave

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Menstrual leave is a type of leave where a woman may have the option to take paid or unpaid leave from her employment if she is menstruating and is unable to go to work because of this.[1][2] Menstrual leave is controversial because it is seen by some as a criticism of women's work efficiency or as sexism.[3][4]


A girls school in the south Indian state of Kerala had granted its students menstrual leave as early as 1912.[5]

The concept of menstrual leave started in Japan in the early 20th century. In the 1920s, Japanese labor unions started to demand leave (seiri kyuka) for their female workers. In 1947, a law was brought into force by the Japanese Labor Standards that allowed menstruating women to take days off work. Then a unique legislation of its kind, it is now found in a few countries. Debate continues as to whether it is a medical necessity or a discriminatory measure.[6][7][8][9]

Corporate policies[edit]

Nike also included menstrual leave in their Code of Conduct in 2007, implemented around the globe wherever they operate. Nike obliges the business partners to follow the code principles by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.[10] Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) started a campaign for menstrual leave for female employees at Toyota. The union asked for 12 paid days of menstrual leave for a woman per year.[11]


Menstrual leave policies exist in some Asian countries, although individual companies in countries that do not have national laws may choose to implement such policies.

In Indonesia, under the Labor Act of 1948, women have a right to two days of menstrual leave per month.[12]

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."[13][14] 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 South Korea, not only are female employees entitled to menstrual leave according to the Article 71 of the Labour Standards Law,[15] but they are also ensured additional pay if they do not take the menstrual leave that they are entitled to.[16]

In Taiwan, the Act of Gender Equality in Employment gives women three days of "menstrual leave" per month, which will not be calculated toward the 30 days of "common sick leave", giving women up to 33 days of "health-related leaves" per year. The extra three days do not come with half-pays once a woman employee exceeds the regulated 30.[17]


  1. ^ classprojects. "menstrual leave".
  2. ^ cleanclothes. "what is menstruation leave". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13.
  3. ^ Iuliano, Sarah. "Menstrual leave: delightful or discriminatory?". 5 August 2013. Lip Magazine. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  4. ^ Price, Catherine (11 October 2006). "Should women get paid menstruation leave?". Salon. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  5. ^ "A Kerala School Granted Period Leave 105 Years Ago". NDTV. 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  6. ^ JSTOR. "Japan's 1986 Equal Employment Opportunity Law and the Changing Discourse on Gender". 20: 268–302. JSTOR 3174950.
  7. ^ HARVARD UNIVERSITY, 2007. "Periodic struggles: Menstruation leave in modern Japan".
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ apparelsearch. "NIKE Policy".
  11. ^ abc. "Unions seek 'menstrual leave' for Toyota workers".
  12. ^ Govt. of Indonesia. "Labour Act". Archived from the original on 2011-10-04.
  13. ^ International Labour Organization. "National Labour Law Profile: Japan".
  14. ^ asianfoodworker. "Comparison of the Japanese Laws and Model CBA of UI ZENSEN on Maternity Protection" (PDF).
  15. ^ International Labour Organization. "National Labour Law Profile: Japan".
  16. ^ joongangdaily. "Once again, court orders menstrual leave payout".
  17. ^ The China Post. "Gender equality in employment act revised".

External links[edit]