There are no plans to introduce menstrual leave for women at this point given that the data at hand shows no demand for it, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Siti Zailah Yusoff said today.
She said her ministry had found that women employees do not request for menstrual-related leave due to embarrassment and a fear of being seen as unproductive.
"I would strongly agree that this should be recommended to the government if a study is done on whether there is interest," she said in response to an oral question by Charles Santiago (PH-Klang) on the ministry's plans to introduce menstrual leave as part of the country's social protection for women.
This followed calls by some for the government to enact a law allowing special leave for women suffering from severe menstrual cramps, as recently implemented by Spain.
Siti Zailah said while countries such as Japan and South Korea as well as Indonesia had already introduced such leave, Malaysia had yet to show much demand for it.
She attributed this to the provision of medical and other leave facilities already provided by employers in both the public and private sectors.
"The ministry is of the view that any introduction of menstrual leave would require further study and discussions with the relevant parties such as the Public Service Department, the human resources and finance ministries, trade unions and employers' organisations," she said.
"It's not just about the well-being of women workers. It will also have implications on productivity and the economy."