Malaysia pushes for menstrual leave policy

The HR Ministry has urged government-linked companies and private firms to implement menstrual leave policies without waiting for legislation.
By: | June 1, 2022

The ministry said businesses with collective agreements could also initiate negotiations with their trade unions to incorporate such a policy into their collective agreements. 

However, the ministry noted that it will need to do an in-depth study to ascertain the pros and cons of legislating this matter, taking into account the appropriate mechanisms needed to be put in place to implement this policy at company level to avoid any misuse or pitfalls. 

“On this, the ministry needs to engage with the employers and workers associations before making any decisions. Discussion with other relevant ministries would also need to be done,” the Human Resources Ministry said.

The ministry was responding to questions on whether Malaysia could follow in the footsteps of Spain and other countries like Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea in introducing a national menstrual leave policy.

In addition, the ministry said that though enacting a law to regulate entitlement of menstrual leave in the private sector could be seen as a progressive move by the government to enhance women’s rights at the workplace, authorities have to be wary if this could instead have any adverse effect on the employment opportunities for women.

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“The Human Resources Ministry is keenly following the on-going debate and developments in several countries regarding enacting laws to regulate menstrual leave policy for female employees in the private sector”, the ministry said, according to the New Straits Times.