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Offering menstrual pain leave to employees is nothing new in the job market. The Japanese have had it since 1947, the South Koreans introduced it 2001 and several provinces in mainland China also offer the perk.
Most organisations in Hong Kong offer one to two days of sick leave per month to employees, but do not specify which kinds of illnesses employees can use them for.
In a recent blog post on Hong Kong Discussion Group, a disgruntled employee complained her boss fired her because she was having serious menstrual pain and wanted to take a couple of days off.
Here is a recap of the phone conversation between the employee and the boss.
Employee: Sorry boss, I would like to take today and tomorrow off because I am having my period and feel really uncomfortable.
Boss: What? What kind of illness is that? I don’t have it.
Employee: But I am a woman…
Boss: The most I can give you is a day. Hand in your medical certificate to me or I will cut your pay.
Employee: I think I need a couple of days. I am in a lot of pain.
Boss: Stop being so greedy. One day is enough. I don’t believe you are in so much pain. You only need to type on a keyboard for your job, it can’t be so painful that you can’t even type with your fingers.
The writer of the post insisted she needed to take a few days off and the boss agreed reluctantly on the phone to let her take them. Later that day, the company’s administrative department informed her she had been fired.
Some respondents to the post suggested that getting a medical certificate from the doctor before informing the boss how many days of leave she needed might have strengthened her case.
HR professionals, do you think providing menstrual pain leave is a solution to avoid these sticky situations in the future? Or will male employees consider it to be unfair?
Please let us know what you think on social media.
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