Menstrual leave? Be flexible as not every woman suffers discomfort, says NGO
Our Journey Director Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna says employers could either give one paid off day, half day or even work from home
SHAH ALAM - Since not every woman suffers from menstrual discomfort, employers should look into offering a day off, half day or even work from home for those who need it, said an NGO.
Our Journey Director Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna said she supports menstrual leave.
"I do support the policy but having said that let me give you a neutral stand, I feel there should be a flexible application on that policy, either the employer has the flexibility to give a day off, a space for women at work to manage the discomfort or even work from home," she said Sinar Daily's Wacana "Addressing Malaysia's Labour Shortage".
Others at the talk were Subang MP Wong Chen, Malaysian Employers Federation Executive Director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, North-South Initiative (NSI) Executive Director Adrian Pereira.
She said are many different types of policy a company could adopt but there should flexibility as not all women will have menstrual discomfort, "so that should be some sort of flexibility".
A recent study on period-related symptoms in Malaysia found that 86% of women suffered from pain and 81% of these said it affected their ability to work.
The women, family and community development ministry has assured that findings of research into the need to introduce menstrual leave will be presented to the government once it is completed in October.
In May, Spain Cabinet had approved a plan to introduce paid "menstrual leave" in the workplace, and if approved in parliament, would mark a European first. But the proposal had sparked an intense debate over whether it could help or hinder women at work.
The lawyer was further asked on the recent passing of the anti-sexual harrasment bill at the Dewan Rakyat last week, she said it was a welcome move as it will promote safety at work.
"But we have to see how will the implementation be carried out and addressed in the companies," she said.
On child care support, Sumitha said companies should offer such services or some allowances.
"When I was in university, mothers could bring in their children and leave them at childcare in the university itself while they studied or worked.
"Or mothers are not able to focus on work because they are thinking of their child," she said, adding that they should be in a comfort zone where they are able to check on their child during their break.
Tailors are still receiving orders for Eid clothing from customers despite having to compete with ready-made clothing businesses (inset: Nor Ain Natasya, Khoo)