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Vietnam to Allow Female Employees to Take Paid Menstrual Breaks in 2021

It is part of a number of regulations aimed at making workplaces more accommodating for women.

Tuoi Tre reports that a new piece of legislation coming into force on February 1 will allow for women to take paid breaks during their period, among other regulations related to breastfeeding and pregnancy.

One prominent part of the 126-page decree under the Labor Code stipulates that women who do take menstrual leave will be entitled to a 30-minute paid break each day during their monthly cycle. These breaks can be taken at least three times each month, and further breaks or schedule changes can be decided on between an employee and her employer.

The new regulation further states that women who do not take menstrual leave or take advantage of these breaks will have their time counted as working on leave, instead of overtime, and will therefore be paid extra.

Additionally, a female employee who has a child less than one year old will be entitled to an hour-long paid daily break, while employers will be encouraged to build separate rooms where female employees can pump and store breast milk. Companies with over 1,000 female workers will be required to provide such facilities.

The news source adds in Vietnamese that prior to giving birth, the new decree will allow for pregnant employees to take up to five days off for prenatal check-ups, or two days at a time if they live far away from a health facility or if the pregnancy has medical complications.

A number of major labor changes are in store for 2021, including regulatory shifts that will allow for the creation of independent worker representative organizations.

Not a lot of countries formally recognize menstrual leave, but many that do are in Asia, such as Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and now Vietnam. Back in 2017, Italy was considering a draft law that, if approved, would make it the first European nation to allow female workers to take up to three days of paid leave a month due to painful periods.

[Photo via Flickr user ILO Asia-Pacific]

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