If you have a uterus, then you know how a period feels. Some months are better than others — maybe some light cramping and a little moodiness. Other months, though, can involve days of intense, sharp abdominal pain, back pain, headaches, digestive discomfort, mood swings and nausea, just to name a few common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, which affects most women.
Every 28 days or so, women (and other people with uteruses) get up and work through these symptoms — literally. Women go to their jobs while experiencing varying levels of period-related discomfort. A movement to allow women extra paid time off for their periods is gaining traction.
It’s called menstrual leave, and it’s already being implemented around the world. Several countries, like China and South Korea, have federalized menstrual leave policies, and Japan has had a menstrual leave policy in place since 1947.
In other places around the globe, giving women paid time off from work to deal with period symptoms is much less common. There are no countries in Europe with nationwide menstrual leave policies, and the United States lacks one as well. But things may be starting to change.