The former president and chief executive of South Korean airline Asiana has been fined by the country’s top court for refusing menstrual leave for 15 flight attendants during a one year period from May 2014 to June 2015.
Under South Korean law, women are allowed to take between one and two days off per month during their periods. The law has been around since the 1950s although take-up is low and any time off often goes unpaid. Similar provisions are available to women in other Asian countries including Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Kim Soo-cheon, who remains on the board at the Seoul-based airline, was originally indicted in 2017 for personally turning down 138 separate menstrual leave requests from 15 flights attendants the Yonhap news agency reported.
A lower court found Soo-cheon guilty and had fined him a nominal sum of 2 million won (USD $1,790). The Asiana chief, however, appealed the verdict arguing there had been “many suspicious cases” and that some of the flight attendants had requested menstrual leave around public holidays or close to their scheduled days off.
Soo-cheon also claimed the women had failed to prove they were on their period when they requested the time off.
The court found that asking women to prove they were on their period could “infringe upon privacy and human rights” and create a culture that put employees off requesting menstrual leave.
On Sunday, South Korea’s highest court upheld the initial ruling, rejecting Soo-cheon’s lengthy appeal.
Korean Air intends to acquire Asiana in a deal that would make the carrier the world’s seventh-largest airline. Since being announced in November 2020, the acquisition has been delayed until next year and the full merger won’t now take place until 2024.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
I’ve had girlfriends who, if given this benefit, would never have had to work 31 out of 31 days…
And they want to up front in the cockpit ?
They already are, idiot. When you bleed out your ass for 5 days and have cramps that feel like you have dysentery (as close as you’re gonna get) then you get to whine about female pilots.
It states :15 flight attendants during a one year period. That is a long period.:)