French retail giant to offer menstrual leave

French supermarket giant Carrefour said on Wednesday it would allow female employees to take days off if they suffer from endometriosis, a medical condition that can cause excessive period cramps.

The move is the latest to allow women extra time off in a country where paid menstrual leave still depends on the individual initiative of employers.

One in ten women worldwide suffer from endometriosis, a chronic disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb.

“To improve women’s rights and equality at work, we have decided… to give 12 days off (a year) to women suffering from endometriosis,” Carrefour said.

Women would be able to take one day off per month after providing a medical certificate proving they suffer from the illness, it said.

Carrefour would also grant three days to women who have had a miscarriage, it added.

And it would give a day off to women undergoing an embryo transfer as part of a medically assisted pregnancy. The company, which has supermarkets all over the world, said the measures would for the moment only apply to workers in France.

But CEO Alexandre Bompard said he hopes the decision will have “a domino effect, that other companies copy it”.

The municipality of Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, last month became the first municipality in France to allow women two days off per month if they suffer from conditions linked to their menstrual cycles, including endometriosis.

In February, Spain became the first European country to adopt legislation allowing for paid menstrual leave.

Similar laws exist in Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia, but are applied to varying degrees and days off are not always remunerated.

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