Soon people won’t be flocking to Italy for just its pasta
In a move that’s unprecedented for Western nations, Italy is in works to introduce (and in the months to come, possibly pass) a law that would require employers to provide paid menstrual leave. A draft of the law is currently being debated in Italy’s lower house of parliament and if eventually passed would offer the option of three days of paid leave for women who experience extreme pain during their menstrual cycles.
For any individual who menstruates, painful conditions can extend from severe cramps to more complex disorders like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Endometriosis, for example, affects approximately 5 million women in the United States, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The number itself could be much higher given the number of women who go undiagnosed.
While other countries have debated, or already implemented, a paid leave policy like Italy’s, there are many who question its potential drawbacks.
One expert, Daniela Piazzalunga, an economist at research institute FBK-IRVAPP, told the Washington Post:
“However, on the other hand I wouldn’t exclude that [if the law is approved] this would lead to negative repercussions: The demand for female employees among companies might decrease, or women could be further penalised both in terms of salary and career advancement.”
There will still be some time before anyone knows which direction Italy chooses to move in, but in the meantime it’s brought the reality of painful menstrual cycles to the forefront.