Paid menstrual leave may cause joblessness – Lacson

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — Former Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said the proposed paid menstrual leave will only put women's jobs at risk, arguing that some companies may not have the budget for it.

“Instead of benefiting the female workforce in general, it may have a negative effect on the economic and political stability of the country,” Lascon said. “It is good to be perceived as pro-labor, especially among the 49% women population, but we should also take into consideration the long-term effect on the country’s investment climate in particular and the economy in general."

House Bill 7758 filed by Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas on Wednesday seeks to grant women a paid two-day menstrual leave every month.

The bill cited a report from Hum Reprod Update that showed 45% to 95% of menstruating women suffer from primary dysmenorrhea.

But for Lacson, paid menstrual leaves may just lead to layoffs, the closing of some factories, and discourage long-term investments by prospective employers.

“What the proponents of the two-day-a-month menstrual-leave-with-pay measure and the ordinary working woman in this country may not realize is the impact of an additional 24 days a year of leave with pay on top of the 105 days of maternity leave, 7 days of paternity leave, 5 days of sick leave, including the 13-18 days of vacation leave every year (convertible to cash if unused) which could lead to layoffs or even the closing of some factories that may not have the wherewithal to cope with the burden of complying with all these privileges,” he added.

On Saturday, Lacson posted on his social media account that the next legislative measure may soon propose to mandate “menopause and andropause allowances to increase the testosterone levels of workers.”

In response, the Gabriela Women's Party-list said Lacson should have recognized the plight of women first before releasing the "insensitive" comment. They emphasized that the proposed bill is both for women’s health and productivity improvement.

“The experience of throbbing pain and other symptoms during women’s monthly periods is not something which women made up — it is a shared reality which women have to endure on a monthly basis,” Gabriela said.

“To reduce women’s demand for menstrual leave to a plane alongside testosterone-boosting leaves for men is to trivialize women’s pain,” it added.

READ: La Union workers get two-day work-from-home benefit on menstrual days