Women in a company in the UK can truly have a ‘happy period’.
In a first in the UK, Coexist, a community interest company in Bristol, has announced period or menstrual leave for its women employees, the Telegraph reports.
Out of the 24 of the company, a whole 17 are women, a fact that is likely to have supported the decision. Bex Baxter, one of the directors at Coexist, said: “As a manager of staff I have seen women really suffer with their periods and I have found them doubled over in a lot of pain. Many companies are male-dominated and encourage long hours but there is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive”, Baxter added.
“They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it. It started from there and we thought we had to see what we could do about it and try and break the last great taboo.”, Baxter added.
The company believes that the new policy will increase productivity and hopes that other firms will follow the lead of global sportswear giant Nike and introduce similar policies.
“This is not about employees taking more time off but working more flexibly and efficiently around their menstrual cycle and encouraging a work-life balance.”, Baxter asserts.
This move comes close on the heels of a recent news of Chinese province Anhui, which starting from March, will offer between one to two days leave a month for women who are the victims of painful periods. In fact in several, mostly East Asian countries, paid “menstrual leave” is a legal right for female workers.
While no company in India currently has a menstrual leave policy in place, this news has been warmly welcomed by Indian women. “I really want to propose implementing this change in India too. Out of the 1.5 days of leave per month I’m eligible to, invariably one day goes off in managing menstruation.”, laments Arunlekha Sengupta, a marketing manager.
“While menstrual pains or cramps don’t affect all women in the same degree, policies can still can be made “optional” – on a case to case basis. It is good to sensitize organizations. It’s real. It’s an issue.”, says Hamsini, a communication professional
However, getting buy-in from HR managers may be a challenge. “How about making it mandatory for companies to offer 8 days of optional unpaid leave for woman spread throughout the year? As it is there are only 22 working days a month. Of this, most companies offer around 24 days of paid working day leaves a year. So you work 20 days a month. Then there is ~10 days of paid national holidays on average. So in reality you are only working 19 days a month! I think unpaid leave makes sense, or employers will discriminate against woman. Its not like the cramps will hit every time on a working day and they are regular like the new moon changing every month, so you don’t need them every month. “, says Kib Reddy, an HR manager.
Would you like to have a menstrual leave? Tell us in the comments.