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.
The measure, announced by Alexandre Bompard, affects Carrefour employees in France, about 50,000 of the 200,000 who work at the distributor globally, but the Group intends to implement it in all countries. Soon it will arrive in Italy and Spain
“To advance women’s rights and equality at work, we have decided to give women with endometriosis 12 days off, one day a month,” Bompard said during a press conference, adding that “it is the first big company in doing it”.
This measure will especially benefit the “50,000 women who work every day in Carrefour stores in France”, detailed the CEO, who hopes in this way “to change the day-to-day life of our colleagues so that these women can prosper in the workplace without fear of being ostracized for their health.”
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 and it would give a day off to women undergoing an embryo transfer as part of a medically assisted pregnancy, it added.
The company, which has supermarkets all over the world, said the measures would for the moment only apply to workers in France.
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.
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.