Italy could be on its way to become the first western country to offer menstrual leave to women. Italian lawmakers are reportedly considering offering three days of paid menstrual leave to the working women.
Four women Democratic lawmakers in Italy have introduced a legislation in their country's parliament which would allow women to take up to three days of paid leave every month.
Women go through menstruation cycles every month, which along with hormonal changes, causes physical discomfort for quite sometime. Period pain makes it difficult for most women to concentrate on their work, yielding low productivity, at least on the first day.
Countries like Zambia, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and some provinces in China already have a system of menstrual leave policy in place for the working women. A firm in the United Kingdom also announced last year that it is adopting a menstrual leave policy for its women employees.
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Italy proposal receives mixed response
The proposal by the Italian lawmakers has, however, received mixed reactions. While Marie Claire's Italian edition has deemed it a "standard-bearer of progress and social sustainability," some critics felt the proposal might discourage employers from hiring women in their organisations.
"The demand for female employees among companies might decrease, or women could be further penalised both in terms of salary and career advancement," Daniela Piazzalunga, an economist at research institute FBK-IRVAPP, told the Washington Post in an email.
Italy already has many women-friendly labour laws in place as the nation offers mandatory five months of paid maternity leave for women. New mothers in Italy receive 80 per cent of their salaries through the Italian version of social security during the mandatory leave, according to the Independent. After the maternity leave is over, new mothers and fathers are allowed to take additional six months of paternal leave. During this period, they receive around 30 per cent of their salaries.