Zambia has made a provision in the country’s labour law that allows female workers to take off one day a month known as Mother’s Day during their menstruation period, even though it applies to all women, whether or not they have children.
The legal definition is not precise – women can take the day when they want and do not have to provide any medical justification, leading some to question the provision.
“I think it’s a good law because women go through a lot when they are on their menses [periods],” says Ndekela Mazimba, who works in public relations in an interview with BBC.
Ms Mazimba is neither married nor does she have children but she takes her Mother’s Day every month because of her grueling period pains.
“You might find that on the first day of your menses, you’ll have stomach cramps – really bad stomach cramps. You can take whatever painkillers but end up in bed the whole day.
“And sometimes, you find that someone is irritable before her menses start, but as they progress, it gets better. So, in my case, it’s just the first day to help when the symptoms are really bad.”
Women in Zambia do not need to make prior arrangements to be absent from work, but can simply call in on the day to say they are taking Mother’s Day.
An employer who denies female employees this entitlement can be prosecuted.
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