A local recruitment agency has decided to grant its female employees 12 days of menstrual leave per year.
WFDM – an agency made up of nine separate companies – said that it will provide paid annual leave to female employees who experience painful and difficult periods which impact their job duties.
The leave will not be counted against their sick or vacation leave. A WFDM spokesperson said that all its female workers, including those subcontracted to other companies, will be eligible.
But subcontracted employees for other companies will only get the menstrual leave if the company they are working for agrees to it, a company spokesperson told Times of Malta.
That means most subcontracted WFDM workers will most likely never get access to the benefit: employers’ organisations have made it clear that they are dead-set against providing menstrual leave, saying such proposals are “not justified”.
Company CEO Matthew Mantvydas Narusevicius said the company was among the first to offer such a benefit to its workers.
“We recognize that menstruation is a normal and natural part of life, and for some women, it can be a challenging and painful experience,” he said.
“We believe that by introducing menstrual leave, we are sending a message to our female employees that we support them and care about their overall wellbeing. This is just one of the many steps we are taking to ensure that WFDM remains an inclusive and supportive workplace for women.”
Women employed by WFDM will not be required to present a doctor’s note to avail of the menstrual leave. Those who work desk jobs will also be given an additional day to work from home whenever they miss a day due to menstrual pain.
“We trust our employees,” a company spokesperson said.
The company made the announcement on Wednesday, International Women’s Day.
It comes nearly a month after PL MP Rosianne Cutajar suggested that parliament should consider introducing menstrual cycle leave.
She raised the topic after speaking to a young woman from Qormi who lost her job because she had to miss work due to painful periods.
Cutajar was among the first to welcome the WFDM announcement and recalled how when she first suggested it, many were “confused” by the idea.
Yet not everyone is on board with Cutajar’s suggestion.
Parliamentary secretary for equality Rebecca Buttigieg had told Times of Malta that such a proposal would raise a lot of discussions.
“Whilst there are those who argue in favour and stipulate that this measure is needed, there are those who believe that such a measure will increase discriminatory policies for women rather than decreasing it.”
In February, Spain became the first European country to introduce menstrual leave.
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