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Gabriela to ECOP: Sick leave won’t unburden women of menstrual pain

Sick leaves won’t be enough to alleviate the plight of women who menstruate every month, House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list said Wednesday.

Brosas was responding to Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, who said that Brosas’ proposed monthly menstrual leave bill is already covered by the existing service incentive leave, maternity leave, solo parent leave, and leave for victims of violence, among other paid leaves.

“Sick leaves are inadequate to cover the health consequences of monthly menstrual-related symptoms that women workers experience,” Brosas said.

“From our proposed wage increase to our recently filed menstrual leave, ECOP never fails to counter pro-worker measures in the name of maintaining super profits for big businesses,” she added.

“Ang matinding kinakaharap ng kababaihan ay ang mababang pasahod at kawalan ng benepisyo, hindi ang menstrual leave na tiyak na magiging malaking alwan para sa kanila," she added.

(What puts the women at a disadvantage are the paltry wages and the lack of benefits, not the monthly menstrual leave that would bring them some comfort.)

Brosas earlier filed House Bill 7758, which seeks to grant a menstrual leave of a maximum of two days per month with 100% daily remuneration to all female employees in the private and public sector. 

"Our House Bill 7758 seeks to provide women workers with a maximum of two days menstrual leave per month, which is far different from sick leaves, which are normally given only five days per year," Brosas said.

She also called out Ortiz-Luis' saying that women will lose their jobs due to gender preference and discrimination if the menstrual leave becomes a law.

"Gender preference and discrimination in the world of work should not be used as an excuse to deprive workers of reproductive health benefits,” Brosas said.

“In fact, the existence of such gender inequalities should push the government to monitor and improve the implementation of policies which prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace," she added. — BM, GMA Integrated News