Is ‘Paid Menstrual Leave’ the Next Big Cause of the Left?

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In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned to create a federal paid family leave program. It was an issue I strongly disagreed with him on (I counted that as proof he wasn’t a genuine conservative). Did the United States really need another entitlement program? The answer to that is: Hell no, we have enough.

Not to mention that the creation of one new entitlement will most certainly pave the way for more. A paid family and medical leave for federal employees was passed in 2019, and so it was only a matter of time for someone to push for the next entitlement to rally behind.

And that has turned out to be paid menstrual leave.

I wish I were joking, but a thousand-word op-ed on paid menstrual leave was published by Teen Vogue last week. The article calls it a “worker’s rights issue that employers should guarantee.”

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“When we shift the conversation from an added benefit to a fundamental worker’s right, paid menstrual leave affirms that workers should not have to choose between getting paid, risking their health, or suffering through illness, discomfort, or pain,” explains Sara Youngblood Gregory. (No, I’m not making that up.) “Paid menstrual leave is one tangible method to ensure the workplace is more accessible and equitable for all workers.”

Ahh, there’s the money word right there: equitable.

I’m trying hard to ignore that Sara Youngblood Gregory, while calling for paid menstrual leave, refuses to acknowledge that women menstruate. Instead, she calls them “people who menstruate” and “menstruators.” If that weren’t enough to not take her seriously, she pretends that concerns about paid menstrual leave being abused are unwarranted.

Really? I’ve had female friends in middle school, high school, and college who have used “women’s troubles” to get out of participating in gym class, or as an excuse for being late to class or whatever else they could get away with, even though they weren’t in any significant discomfort. They bragged about it because they got away with it because no teacher, especially male teachers, would question it. I remember wishing I had such a handy excuse to not participate in gym.

According to Sara Youngblood Gregory, without paid menstrual leave, women “with severe [menstrual] symptoms are punished for the reality of their own bodies, and their careers suffer.” But, paid menstrual leave would actually only make those problems worse and hurt all women of childbearing age professionally.

First, to explain how “paid menstrual leave” will hurt women in the workplace, let’s explain why some people believe there is a gender wage gap—even though sex discrimination in compensation has been illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. According to the left, women make 77 cents for every dollar men make. However, this is based on a straight average across the board.

The thing is, a straight average of men’s and women’s pay tells the wrong story.  Here’s why. Women typically have more breaks in their careers due to childbirth, maternity leave, and raising families, and they can lag behind their male contemporaries in the workforce. Men also are more likely to take certain jobs that can be more dangerous and, thus, higher paying.

However, once you account for variables such as occupation, years in the workplace, and hours worked, the alleged pay gap between men and women disappears. In fact, this is the exact same argument that was used by the Obama administration when it was revealed there was a gender pay gap in the Obama White House.

So, what happens if women are now given paid menstrual leave? Let’s move on from the absurdity that it wouldn’t be abused, and address how this will impact hiring. If you’re an employer, are you going to hire a woman who will potentially be off a few days every month and have to be paid , or a man who biologically is incapable of menstruating and thereby immediately seen as a more reliable employee?

Women in the workplace who are regularly using paid menstrual leave will be seen as less productive because they’re getting paid regularly for not working, and they’ll lag behind their male counterparts in advancement because they’re not working as much and, thus, have acquired less experience.

While there’s no doubt that some women have significant discomfort and pain, frankly, that’s still no reason for blanket policies in the workforce.

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