A Bill Seeking Menstrual Leave Has Been Filed in Congress

If passed, the Philippines will be the latest country to offer menstrual leave for female employees 

A bill that allows female employees to file a menstruation leave of up to two days per month has been filed in Congress. House Bill 7758, which was filed by Gabriela party-list Representative Arlene Brosas, seeks to grant this benefit to female employees in both the private and public sectors. According to ABS-CBN News, “the bill seeks to provide women with the flexibility and support they need to manage their reproductive health without the fear of negative consequences such as losing pay, falling behind in work, or facing disciplinary action.” 

In February, Spain became the first European country to give paid menstrual leave to female employees. 

ECOP Reacts to House Bill 7758

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has offered its views on the proposed bill, saying that women can just use their sick leaves when they’re unable to work due to menstruation. According to a separate report by ABS-CBN News, ECOP points out that granting female employees menstrual leave “could lead to gender discrimination when hiring.”

The report also notes that ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. enumerated the other benefits female employees receive in an interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. These benefits include gynecological leave and maternity leave. 

Ortiz-Luis likewise reasons that granting female employees menstrual leave “could also hurt smaller companies in terms of manpower and resources.”

La Union’s ‘Menstruation Day’ Privilege

The idea of menstruation leave may seem like a foreign concept to most of the Philippines, but it is actually not the case in La Union. In fact, an Executive Order (EO) was approved last October by La Union Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David that allows female employees of the provincial government to enjoy what is known as the “Menstruation Day” privilege. 

The “Menstruation Day” privilege allows employees to work from home for two days every month provided that they are menstruating. The EO also states that menstruation kits should be provided in every office of the provincial government. 

“I hope that with this EO, we can spread awareness and be kinder to our female employees, especially during their period days,” Governor Ortega-David said, as quoted by the Philippine News Agency

What Menstruation Leave Will Mean for Female Employees

Countless women can attest that menstruation effects are different for everyone. While some can perform work duties like normal, there are those who find it difficult due to menstruation-related symptoms (MRSs). These include headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and abdominal cramps. 

These MRSs can make it more challenging to be productive at work. Having menstruation leaves will allow women to better take care of themselves without the fear of losing income or suffering from other sanctions.