Ever since the Spanish cabinet’s recent approval of a draft bill that grants menstrual leave for women suffering from severe period pain, it begs the question – Should Malaysia follow suit?
On that note, Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry has encouraged government-linked companies (GLCs) and private firms to implement menstrual leave policies on their own without waiting for official government legislation.
While the move to allow menstrual leave at Malaysian workspaces is no where near established, there’s been a lot of encouragement coming from major entities that represent employees and their interests.
The Malaysian HR Ministry says there’s still lots of research to be done, something it says requires a bit of time to really gauge the effectiveness (and need) of a menstrual leave policy. It’s not that the ministry is against it, per se. It just wants to ensure that it isn’t abused – nor used as an excuse to hire less women in the workplace.
“On this, the ministry needs to engage with the employers and workers associations before making any decisions. Discussion with other relevant ministries would also need to be done,” the HR Ministry told The New Straits Times.
“The Human Resources Ministry is following keenly the on-going debate and developments in several countries with regard to enacting laws to regulate menstrual leave policy for female employees in the private sector.”
Countries that have officially implemented menstrual leave policies tend to give one to two days of paid leave per month, while countries where there isn’t an existing policy usually give out menstrual leave on a company-by-company basis.
The HR Ministry even referenced a recent poll conducted by the New Straits Times, in which the Malaysian publication received some 1,177 responses – 87 percent of which stated a preference for a nationally-implemented menstrual leave policy.
“While the ministry appreciates the outcome of this poll, we must not immediately come to a decision to implement this as a part of the law. As such, the ministry will need to do an in-depth study,” the ministry said.
Currently, only a handful of countries allow menstrual leave on the national level, including Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Zambia, and of course, Spain.