The Guangdong government is seeking public consultation on a special bill to grant female employees one day of paid sick leave every month for their menstruation period.

Those who want to apply for the sick leave will need to produce a doctor’s note stating that they suffer from “severe” menstrual pain, which will affect their work. The note will be valid for half a year.

The bill has generated much discussion on social media, with many doubting the feasibility of the “period leave.”

menstrual leave
Chinese female office workers. Photo:

“This policy is good, but in the end it will just make employers not want to hire women,” a comment on the Sina news portal said. It was liked more than 100 times. “Only civil servants and state-owned company workers will be able to enjoy [the new leave],” another said.

Others said the required doctor’s notes would stop most people from exercising this right. “What is severe pain? They can say they are hurting even if they are not,” one wrote. Another pointed out that women would not want to go through the trouble of going to the hospital to get a doctor’s note if they are suffering from pain.

Meanwhile, some lawyers said the “period leave” violates women’s medical privacy, the Guangzhou-based New Express Daily reported.

Similar laws already exist in other provinces, such as Hubei and Shanxi. Authorities in Shanxi even demand employers to pay a small allowance of no less than RMB30 (HK$36) a month to female employees for menstrual products, the newspaper said.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.