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China province offers women ‘menstrual leave’ days off during their period

Women are able to take one or two days off upon producing a medical letter as proof

Emma Henderson
Tuesday 16 February 2016 12:40 GMT
Menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps (Rex Features)

A Chinese province has agreed to give women paid leave every month if they are suffering from severe menstrual cramps.

From March, female workers in the central Anhui Province’s will be able to take one or two days off “on production of a certificate from a legal medical institute or hospital,” reports news website.

It is not the first Chinese province to bring in the law. Menstrual leave, as it is known, is already in place for women in the northern Shanxi province and central Hubei province.

CNN reported Guandong, in southern China, also trialled the scheme up until December 3, but it is not clear if it will be taken forward.

A survey in the province found 20 per cent of women were unwilling to take this leave as it could “cause delays in work”, according to

As well as worrying employees about their rights, employers said they were concerned about the costs involved.

Other countries, including South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Japan, already have laws in place allowing women time off work when they are menstruating.

Menstrual leave started in Japan in 1947 and Nike is thought to be the only company which includes this type of leave in their code of conduct worldwide.

Women in Indonesia reportedly rarely take these days off, even if they need to, because companies insist on examining women before they would be allowed to take leave, reported Jakarta Globe.

Taiwan offers women three days off a year for menstrual cramps, which is the most generous of all the countries.

However, there is nothing similar in place in western countries, although the idea was proposed in Russia in 2013, but never made it to a law.

Gedis Grudzinskas, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology said menstrual leave would boost women’s motivation and productivity when they are in the workplace, reported the Daily Mail.

According to research carried out by Pub Med Health, one in 10 women have period cramps so bad, known as dysmenorrhea, its stops them from carrying out their usual daily activities from one to three days a month.

In China, the concept was proposed by national political advisor, Zhang Xiaomei in 2011, who claimed more than 85 per cent of women were adversely affected at work by their periods.

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