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Labour minister rules out paid leave for menstruating women

Labour minister rules out paid leave for menstruating women

by Yannick HANSEN 06.10.2021 From our online archive
Debate follows a petition that called for two extra days off for women on their periods
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Labour Minister Dan Kersch ruled out giving women two days of paid leave every month, during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, following a petition  calling for females to get time off when menstruating. 

"The government is not willing to go on a path of approving a two-day dispensation for every woman", Kersch said during the debate. He criticised the petition which asked for every woman to be entitled to the paid leave, saying that some have worse period pains than others.  

The petitioners cited Indonesia and South Korea as countries which have already applied this rule in some way, since 1948 and 2001 respectively. 

"It is not about getting two days off systematically each month, but about having the option [of getting two days off]", one of the petitioners told lawmakers in parliament.

While all deputies welcomed the attention the petition drew to women's periods and possible discrimination in the workplace, Carole Hartmann of the Democratic Party questioned the practicality of the demand, asking whether menstruating women would have to get a medical certificate to benefit from the monthly dispensation. Women can already go to their GP and ask to be put on sick leave when they experience period pains.

The petitioners pointed out that private sector employees may already stay at home for two days - civil servants three days - when feeling sickly without having to provide a medical certificate. Women suffering from period pains could also work from home for those days, the petitioners added.

Another issue Socialist lawmaker Simone Asselborn-Bintz raised was the possibility of abusing the paid leave allowance if a medical certificate was not required. Petitioners dismissed this, saying that "abuses exist everywhere" and that honest people should not be punished.

Déi Lenk - a far-left party - and Pirate Party lawmakers called for greater sensitivity regarding menstruation and called for awareness campaigns to start in schools and in work places, so women do not encounter any discrimination. 

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