Aussies could soon receive paid menstrual and menopause leave, with unions pushing for workers to receive at least 12 days’ leave per year, or one day a month.
Union representatives said current leave entitlements didn’t “adequately reflect the health experiences of women” and were looking to add additional entitlements to the Fair Work Act.
The Australian Workers Union (AWU), the Transport Workers Union, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, and the United Workers Union are currently surveying members and preparing to launch a nationwide campaign advocating for the leave, The Australian has reported.
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AWU Queensland branch secretary Stacey Schinnerl said some women suffered throughout their working life, meaning the current 10 days’ of sick leave per year and flexible working arrangements weren’t enough.
“Women can get a very traumatic and painful experience every single month for every single year of their reproductive lives,” Schinnerl told the publication.
“If women could choose, we would not experience this. We would like to opt out. But that’s not our reality.”
Last year, superannuation fund Future Super implemented a menstrual and menopause leave policy for employees, with staff able to take up to six days of paid leave per year.
Other Australian workplaces, including the Victorian Women’s Trust and period underwear brand ModiBodi have also introduced paid menstrual and menopause leave. Employees are entitled to up to 12 and 10 paid days per year, respectively.
Which countries have period leave?
Period leave is already offered by countries around the world, including Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and some provinces in China.
In Japan, menstrual leave has been in place for more than 70 years. Japanese law allows women to take leave, but it does not require companies to provide paid leave or extra pay for women who choose to work during painful menstrual periods.
In Indonesia, women have a right to two days of paid menstrual leave per month, although these are not additional leaves.
Spain is currently introducing a new law allowing women to receive an additional three days of leave per month for period pain.