Parliament should consider introducing menstrual cycle leave, Labour MP Roasianne Cutajar said on Tuesday.
Speaking in parliament, the former parliamentary secretary for civil rights said that many women were unable to go to school or work because of period pains.
Cutajar said she chose to raise the topic after speaking to a young woman from Qormi who lost her job because she had to miss work owing to pain.
“I promised to be her voice,” she said.
Cutajar said that several countries including Japan, Taiwan, and Zambia had some form of menstrual leave.
Spain was currently discussing legislation in its senate after passing the law through the lower house.
There would still be many issues to discuss should parliament consider introducing period pain leave, the MP admitted.
“How many leave days should be granted, will the government or private sector pay, and how will we avoid abuse,” she asked.
Concerns about whether this would affect the gender pay gap should also be considered.
Cutajar added that legislation may only go so far, in that stigma may see many women suffer in silence.
“Even in countries which had such legislation, women often did not take a menstrual leave out of fear,” she said.
In Malta women who had endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, ovarian cysts, and fibroids, conditions that lead to menstrual pain, were silent even with their gynaecologist, remaining undiagnosed, she said.