Public service workers in Victoria could soon receive paid period, IVF and menopause leave

Public service workers will soon be entitled to menstrual leave. (Getty)

Public service workers in Victoria, Australia, could soon receive paid menstrual, menopause, and IVF treatment leave.

Public and community sector workers are entitled to reproductive leave under a collective agreement which the state Treasurer signed on 9 April. The leave entitlement would provide staff with an extra five days of leave entitlement added to their sick leave entitlement, which is currently 10 days. 

This is certainly an improvement on the current entitlement for women and gender-diverse people with periods, and those undergoing fertility treatment. However, it doesn’t begin to cover the regular absenteeism at work which those with painful period conditions like endometriosis and PCOS face. 

For context, a 2019 study in Australia found that on average, those with endometriosis have to take four days per month unpaid due to their debilitating symptoms. Meanwhile, a 2021 study found that 83% of women experiencing menopause were affected at work, while only 70% would feel comfortable speaking to their manager about it.

And for those undergoing fertility treatment, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, are recommended to take around eight days off work per cycle for related scans, appointments, blood tests and egg retrieval. 

Those eligible for menstrual leave leave include anyone employed by government bodies like the Department of Education, or the state’s parks authority. However, the Victoria Public Service Union has yet to vote to approve the agreement before it can be implemented.

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In February last year, women and those with periods in Spain were granted the right to three days of menstrual leave a month, with the option of extending it to five days if they experience painful cycles. This made Spain the first country in Europe to entitle workers to paid menstrual leave, as well as passing a number of reproductive rights laws, and expanding on abortion and trans rights.

Other countries, like Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Zambia have already implemented such paid leave for staff.