The much anticipated and long discussed women only benefit- taking days off because of menstrual pain – was finally made available to working women in Anhui.
The new rule was decided during the 67th annual meeting of the Anhui provincial government held in January.
According to the rule, women who are suffering from menstrual pain leave may take one to two days off. Employers who refuse to approve the leave are liable to fines.
Those taking the ‘menstrual leave’ would have to get a note from their doctor to give to their employers, allowing the leave to take place.
The Beijing News cited a whitepaper by the medical school at Peking University on the effects of menstrual pain leave- up to 85% of female workers reported that the pain prevents them from functioning properly at work.
Almost nine out of 10 (88%) of respondents agreed that the new policy is a step in the right direction to protect women’s right at the workplace.
Although most agree that the policy helps create a better workplace, there are concerns over its execution.
While it is not difficult to get medical certificates for menstrual pain, many gynaecologists say that it is difficult to gauge the degree of pain.
Companies also expressed concerns over increased pressure in hiring female employees in light of the policy.
The whitepaper reported up to 40% of women think that the policy is going to make it harder for women to find work.
‘It looks like it is protecting women’s rights, but eventually it will make things worse. The discrimination at work will never end if the rights of women and men are not balanced’,” stated a comment on Weibo.
There has been also been much debate in the news about whether women will actually take up these sick days.
More than one in five (23%) of working women said they not take up the opportunity for various reasons including exposing their private lives and causing delays in work.
Anhui is not the first Chinese province to introduce menstrual pain leave. Previously, Hainan and Hubei also introduced the policy in 1993 and 2009 respectively.
With Anhui onboard, Guangdong is the next province that is considering implementing such a policy, having carried out consultations on the issue in the past months.
Since 1947, women in Japan have been granted menstrual leave and in South Korea, female workers have been entitled to a day off each month since 2001.