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Menstrual leave not applicable to transgender women: Taiwan Ministry of Labor

Menstrual leave reserved for those experiencing physical discomfort at work due to menstruation

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File photo of a woman suffering from menstrual cramps. (Pexels, Sora Shimazaki photo)

File photo of a woman suffering from menstrual cramps. (Pexels, Sora Shimazaki photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Transgender women are not eligible for menstrual leave as they do not have uteruses and do not menstruate, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said on Thursday (Feb. 10).

CNA reported that after a transgender woman recently applied to take a menstrual day off at her company, the company was unsure of whether she was eligible and asked the local government. The local government passed the question on to the MOL, which consulted the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW).

The MOHW responded to the MOL with an explanation from the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology (TAOG), that transgender women who have received gender reassignment surgery and officially registered their changed sex do not have uteruses and do not menstruate. Since the purpose of the menstrual leave is to provide relief to those who may suffer physical discomfort at work while menstruating, the policy does not apply to transgender women as they do not go through the experience.

According to the Act of Gender Equality in Employment, female employees may legally apply to take one day off for menstrual leave each month if they experience menstruation-related discomfort that prevents them from working. The employees do not need to provide any documentation to apply, and employers may not refuse, issue a penalty, or deem the day off as an absence that affects the employee’s attendance bonus or performance evaluation.

CNA cited the MOL as saying that there is no age limit to employees eligible for the menstrual leave, therefore older women may also take a day off each month as needed. Meanwhile, for women whose uterus or ovary has been removed due to health concerns, as long as the employee still ovulates and experiences discomfort due to hormonal changes, she is eligible for the menstrual leave.