Shanxi may become China's first region to allow menstrual leave

Updated: 2015-03-31 17:24


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Shanxi may become China's first region to allow menstrual leave

A female employee works at a cotton mill in Huaibei, Anhui province, on Sept 11, 2013. [Photo/CFP]

A draft labor protection regulation that grants female workers paid leave during menstruation was unveiled in North China's Shanxi province on Monday, Shanxi Daily reported.

The draft regulation, if approved by the provincial legislature, would enable Shanxi to become the first region in China that offers a menstrual leave benefit to female employees.

According to the regulation, female employees experiencing overly painful or heavy menstruation (also known as dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia in medical terms) may be given a paid leave of absence of one or two days upon providing a certificate from a legal medical institute or hospital approved by the employer.

It also says that menstruating female employees who spend the majority of their work day standing up be given time for rest, should their shift be greater than four hours in length.

The situation has attracted the public attention in recent years after Zhang Xiaomei, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee, proposed that menstrual leave be granted to female workers at the "two sessions" in 2011.

But her proposal also drew conflicting opinions on the issue. Some people are worried that menstrual leave would mean "exposing their privacy" and others fear this would make it harder for woman to contend for jobs with men.

China last amended its provisions on labor protection of female workers in 2012, adjusting the scope of jobs that employers cannot assign to female employees during their menstrual periods, pregnancy or lactation.

It offers female employees 98 days of maternity leave for childbirth, an increase of 8 days from the previous regulation.

The new provisions also allow female employees to use their work time to visit a doctor's office for prenatal care.