3 Days Off For a “Painful Period” – What Do You Think?

· September 27, 2017
Even though there are people who are against this measure because they think that it stigmatizes menstruation, the truth is that there are women who have multiple problems during these days.

The controversy is out there. The Italian parliament debated an interesting proposition last April. They discussed if they should give three days off to women who suffer from painful menstruation.

As much as it surprises you, the idea isn’t new.

  • In Japan, for instance, this paid time off has existed since 1947.
  • In Argentina, they have also given women the opportunity to take a day off voluntarily if they need it. However, this is only in some businesses and in specific labor sectors.

However, this news filled the news in several European countries a few months ago, like in the United Kingdom.

There, they had the goal of appearing open, integrated, and progressive. Some businesses have added this right to their internal policies.

It’s possible that many of our readers will already have the same opinion on the subject. Do you agree with giving women a few days paid leave if they suffer from painful periods?

There are parts of our society that are very supportive of the subject. But, there are also people on the other side. They think that it’s not a good idea for women to have a few days available for those days of the month.

Today, in this article, we want to give you more data about this interesting subject in question.

Paid leave for a painful menstruation: data in favor

Painful menstruation and its invisibility

Every woman is different and their menstruations have different characteristics. There are those who get their periods without much pain.

  • There are some who get through it with one painkiller or another. However, a percentage of women have menstruations that are so intense that they’re debilitating.
  • Gynecologists remind us that painful periods can be one of two kinds: the first kind is where you don’t know the cause and the second is where there is a specific problem, like endometriosis for example.
  • A woman with a painful period doesn’t sleep well, suffers from migraines, and has dysphoric disorder (mood changes). But, it’s especially characterized by a pain that becomes your only enemy for a few days.
  • A person with this set of symptoms is someone who can’t give 100%. And if they do, it’s under the effect of heavy medication – which doesn’t always work.

According to some sectors, recognizing this is a way to fight for workplace equality.

Initiatives like the proposal in Italy is also a way of giving visibility to this problem.

By doing this, they ensure things like giving women a better quality of life. And, in essence, more productivity.

Paid leave for menstruation: voices against it

Menstruation shouldn’t be seen as a disease

Curiously, it appears that most of the people who are against his proposal are women. They argue against giving between one to three days of paid leave for a painful menstruation.

  • There are main arguments that they defend their stance. One is, if this regulation is applied, everyone won’t end up seeing menstruation as something natural, but as a disease.
  • At the same time, they fear that the existence of this law will be the excuse many companies use to not hire women because they impose a cost. This is because no one is going to pay the company for having an employee who is going to be absent several days every month.
  • Also, they are suspicious of the way the law could be written. This time off could be defined as “time off due to being indisposed.”

This can be very stigmatizing by giving an image of weakness or “not available” because the woman is sick. When, in reality, this isn’t a sickness like that.

At a time when positions in our society are opening up to women, this kind of paid leave is seen with suspicion. This is especially true of women’s groups that are looking for equal working conditions above all.

The need to take measures towards this

If Italy wanted to open the debate last April, it was because of concrete data: Women that suffer from dysmenorrhea cause continued lost work time.

This is a reality, not a form of discrimination or something that pretends to give labels. What they wanted to articulate is some mechanism that looked for some kind of solution. This should be done with adequate respect and careful wording.

Possible proposals

Painful periods are incapacitating. This is an evident reality.

  • Without a doubt, the best thing would be to rely on a good diagnosis on the reason for this intense pain. And, know that through a sanitary, pharmaceutical, or strategic focus, you can get a better quality of life.
  • For what it’s worth, the possibility of having a few days off is always wise.

However, like what is happening in Japan, every woman is free to use them or not.

  • There will be months where it’s necessary to take a day off. This is because the woman’s body isn’t functioning and because it’s almost impossible to carry out their work.

However, there will be months in which you can be productive and in which you don’t need this time off.

As we say, each woman has a different menstruation. And, the simple fact of giving visibility to this reality is already an advance.