This is the first UK company to launch a “period policy” offering women time off when they’re suffering from bad cramps. [Photo: SWNS]
All women know how awful it is being at work when crippled with excruciating period pains. But in a first, one UK company is road-testing a new initiative that could make those few days each month a little more bearable.
The company, a social media community group called Coexist, will create “period leave” for women who really suffer during that time of the month. Although, how director Bex Baxter will decide who is actually in pain and who just fancies a few days off binge-watching “The Good Wife” has not been confirmed. And how the seven men in the company of 31 staff feel about it could be another issue.
Baxter says the idea behind the leave is to change the stigma around “women’s issues”. And she hopes it will improve workplace productivity.
“I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods,” says Baxter. “Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.
“And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain - no matter what kind - they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”
Is it fair on men to offer women time off when they’re suffering from period pains? [Photo: SWNS]
It’s a cause close to Baxter’s heart, as the 40-year-old suffers bad cramps herself each month.
“There is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive - actually it is about synchronising work with the natural cycles of the body,” she explains. “For women, one of these is their menstrual cycles. Naturally, when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies.
“The spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.”
This may be the first time a UK company has tried out “period leave”, but it’s not a new thing. Women in Japan have been having time off when they’re on their period for over 50 years and other countries including South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia also have laws in place allowing women time off work when they’re due.
Most recently, the Chinese province Anhui has agreed to give women paid monthly leave if they produce a doctor’s letter. And sportswear giant Nike is thought to be the only worldwide company to officially include menstrual leave as part of their Code of Conduct.