If a current draft law is passed, Italy may soon become the first Western country to offer women “menstrual leave,” or three days paid leave each month to women who have problems with painful periods.
According to the Washington Post, Italy already has fairly women-friendly labor laws. The country mandates five months of paid maternity leave for both the employee and employer, making it difficult for women to renounce the maternity leave. Women receive 80 percent of their full salary for those five months.
Still, the Washington Post points out that Italian women struggle in the job market more than women in other countries do. Only 61 percent of Italian women work, compared to 71 percent in the United States. Some critics of the menstrual leave draft law worry the policy may backfire, making it less tempting for employers to hire women over men. Others, like feminist writer Miriam Goi with Vice Italy, worry giving women menstrual leave will only reinforce “stereotypes about women being more emotional during their periods.”
Aside from the proposed law in Italy, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea already have similar, existing menstrual leave policies in place. A small number of private companies, namely Nike, also offer paid time off for periods.
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