Gabriela files bill seeking 'menstrual leave'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2023 04:50 PM

MANILA -- Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas has filed House Bill 7758, which seeks to grant menstrual leave of up to two days per month with full daily pay to all female employees in the private and public sectors.

According to Gabriela, 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 an explanatory note, Gabriela explained that menstruation-related symptoms (MRSs) are diverse and widespread among women. 

"According to Hum Reprod Update, between 45 and 95 percent of menstruating women suffer from primary dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation. MRS patients are also found to have lower scores in several domains of quality of life during their periods, such as general health, physical, mental, social, and occupational functioning," HB 7758 said.

"According to a survey released by BMJ Open, MRS also causes a great deal of lost productivity, and presenteeism is a bigger contributor to this than absenteeism. Women workers would rather go to work despite being in pain than have their wages deducted due to absences," it added.

According to Gabriela, menstrual leave has become a progressive legislation introducing new reproductive rights in some countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia. 

"Last February 16, 2023, Spain became the first European country to provide workers with three days paid menstrual a month with the option of extending it to five days," Gabriela noted. 

In 2022, the La Union provincial government passed an executive order giving "menstruation privilege" to provincial government employees.