There's not much worse than suffering through miserable menstrual cramps and the inevitable multiple trips to the ladies room all day long when it's that "time of the month," and you need to go to work. Even with the strongest OTC pain pills, those crippling cramps can still be brutal, not to mention heavy flows and emotional woes.
Imagine if your employer offered "menstrual leave" – 3 days per month of paid leave to be able to stay home with a hot compress, a cup of chamomile tea, and the freedom to hang out in comfy sweats and "period panties." A dream come true compared to chugging through the workday in agony while you mentally curse out those whimsical women in tampon commercials sashaying across wheat fields in gauzy all-white dresses.
For women in Italy, paid menstrual leave may become a thing of reality. The dreaded "Aunt Flo" is finally about to get a much warmer welcome. As per The Washington Post, "Italy might soon become the first Western country with an official "menstrual leave" policy for working women. The lower house of Italy's Parliament has started discussing a draft law that, if approved, will mandate companies to grant three days of paid leave each month to female employees who experience painful periods."
While most women (and supportive men) are calling this plan progressive and much-needed, others believe this could backfire on women who already fighting for equality in the workplace. As The Washington Post notes, "The menstrual leave presents a catch-22: While it could help solve a real issue for Italian women, it may become another excuse for employers not to hire them in the first place."
There's the concern about the stereotype that women are more "emotional" than their male counterparts, making females deemed weaker in the workplace, as well as the days they'll miss by being off from work 3 days per month.
Italy wouldn't be the first country to put such a leave in place. As per The Sun, "Menstrual leave began in Japan in 1947 and countries including South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia also have laws in place allowing women time off work during their period. The Chinese province Anhui has also agreed to give women paid monthly leave if they produce a doctor's letter."