Paid Menstrual Leave


I came across this discussion on paid menstrual leave on Huffpost. I also read the 2 articles linked in the huffpost article.

The 2 sides go like this – overall, East Asians seem to view it from TCM point of view and believe not resting would lead to problems later. West seems to view it as unnecessary and anti feminism. Why do we need to treat women like weaklings? Why can’t they take midol?

I don’t agree with certain viewpoints from both sides.

TCM does take things to an extreme and they are not applicable to a lot of people. Besides, who knows how much of that is true and how much has been passed down generations like superstitions without logic [a lot probably]. At the same time, I do not believe we should all suck it up and move on and not show when we feel pain.

I feel:

  1. Women or anybody for that matter shouldn’t be sucking it up and ignoring the messages from their bodies unless in dire circumstances.  If you don’t feel well, take rest. The sky will not fall down.  Let’s stop fighting against our body. A lot of us have been taught to wear overworking + stressed out as badge of honour.
  2. Taking leave for periods is not a special privilege for women only because well, men are not getting periods.
  3. I don’t agree with TCM viewpoint that women will have issues if they don’t rest during periods. Most women these days don’t rest. 
  4.  Yes, I want to take leave most of the time on the first day of my periods.  I am tired  and want to rest because I have cramps + occasional vomiting + body soreness.  I am not productive like that. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t see why I should be apologetic for that.
  5. If a certain country has adequate medical leave and you can take leave without producing a medical certificate [MC], I am okay if there is no separate menstrual leave.  Many companies here expect you to produce a medical certificate the next day if you take sick leave. Well, most women don’t go to a doctor for that. If countries/companies want a MC every time you take a sick leave because of cramps, might as well institute separate menstrual leave or change the rules for MC. That & if you don’t have enough medical leave.
  6. People say we cannot know if the woman is lying if she is having period. True. I would suggest 9-10 days menstrual leave if needed and that too, 1 day / month. Sometimes, you can get your periods on a holiday or weekend. Yes, sometimes, women may use that as an excuse. There will always be people who will try to cheat the system. That doesn’t mean we give up on the system right? Should we stop social welfare because some people take advantage of it? 

So, I agree with the women in the huffpost video – give more medical leave and some of it without having to show a MC. 

Read more articles in this series here.

7 thoughts on “Paid Menstrual Leave

  1. I seriously thought the Huff post was as a joke!! I’ve never taken sick leave, because I’ve been lucky that my periods were never painful. For other women, they should definitely be able to take leave for a day or however long needed without having to make a song and dance over it!

    1. It is not a joke but sadly periods is such a taboo topic and there is great pressure not to appear weak that women feel that they cannot take leave for periods. The truth is the workplace has been built around males & not honouring the way women work.

      Many women are critical and look down upon you if one takes leave for periods because you are letting women down by appearing weak and dainty. Also, when may work places expect you to produce a Medical cert, what do you do?

  2. Luckily we have total no of PTO days , thats it, can be used for whatever and whenever no questions asked no answers given 🙂 unless we decide to take it in chunks greater than 10 days..

      1. nothing to apply, if i plan to take more than a week off , i let everyone know the dates and mark a group calender – Scheduled PTO , if it’s a one or 2 day thing due to periods, illness etc., i send email.. and done 🙂 its considered unscheduled PTO

  3. I’m one of those who really benefits from taking leave on the first day of my period. Actually, it’s shifted a bit and it’s the second half of the first day which means it gets quite tricky to time so that I get the maximum benefit from the leave. The symptpms are similar to if I was ‘sick’ in the traditional sense. And to add to it, I found I would often fall sick if I didn’t rest on that day because of low immunity/tiredness making me susceptible to picking up bugs that would necessitate taking more leave later. Most women I’ve spoken to feel the same and would love to be able to take leave on that day. Currently, I take sick leave and luckily all the companies I’ve worked for require a medical certificate only for the second day. Requiring a certificate for just one day of leave makes no sense…what a waste of doctor’s and people’s time since many illnesses are best treated with rest and don’t require a prescription.

    I guess if there were adequate sick days, this should cover it? Though I always feel like I’m rationing, and sometimes cave and go in during my period if I’ve already fallen sick in the month.

    1. I used to feel guilty when I took leave for this but then stopped. Why force myself if I don’t feel too well. I agree, I also do not feel like doing too much work when I get my period. I want to lie in bed and do nothing 🙂

      In Sg, in many places, even if you take a sick leave, you have to produce MC, even if it is for a day. Our company has the policy that you have to get the MC only from specific hospitals near the area and to be presented to the office that day. Luckily, it is not implemented and we sms our boss and inform them most of the time. If it did, I think it is lame because if I spend so much time going to certain clinics and giving MC in office, it defeats the whole purpose of my MC.

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