This is a first for a French community. Menstrual leave comes into effect today in Saint-Ouen, in the Paris suburbs. In the event of painful or incapacitating periods, the 1,200 female agents of the municipality will be able to apply for up to two special authorizations of absence (ASA) per month, or choose to telecommute. Women will simply have to present a medical certificate attesting to the pain once and will not have a waiting day. The measure comes into effect on Monday, March 27.
Saint-Ouen has 60,000 inhabitants and 2,000 municipal officials, including 1,2000 women, explains the PS mayor of the city Karim Bouamrane. According to him, “sStatistically, one out of two women employed by the city of Saint-Ouen suffers from painful or incapacitating periods and 10% of women suffer from endometriosis. In view of what happened in Spain, Taiwan and Japan, we could not not act“, he says on France Inter, citing countries where menstrual leave already exists.
In his teams,there was this kind of denial of suffering, and heavy generational stigmatization of a whole section of managers, because the rules were taboo“, he believes. This leave was therefore put in place in “rearranging time and workstations“. According to him, “when a mayor says: we are going to institutionalize the fact that you no longer have the right to suffer in silence and you are going to be accompanied, it frees up speech“.
A measure on which there is no consensus
“It’s a good idea to put on the table (…) the issue of menstrual leave“, believes Perrine Goussault-Capmas, obstetrician-gynecologist at the Kremlin-Bicêtre hospital, for “lift the taboo” which still exists on the rules. This will certainly encourage women to be followed for these pains.
However, she is “very divided” on the systematization of this menstrual leave. “Are we really going to be able to maintain equality between men and women in hiring? It makes me wonder.” Feminist associations indeed point to the risk of discrimination against women in the labor market. She takes the example of Japan, where, according to a study conducted in 2020 by the Japanese Ministry of Labor, only 0.9% of eligible employees reported taking menstrual leave.
In France, the device is emulated. At the local level, elected officials want to extend it to all the municipalities of Seine-Saint-Denis, others to the city of Paris. At the national level, several deputies and a senator are preparing
bills On the question.