This article features thoughts by &sisters, a progressive and empowering period care brand dedicated to revolutionising the way people who menstruate experience periods.
With a passion for promoting menstrual health, sustainability, and social impact, &sisters strives to create a world where periods are celebrated, stigma is shattered, and people who menstruate have access to high-quality and eco-friendly period products. &sisters product bundles are now available on Juno.
The Importance of Menstrual Leave
In recent years, the conversation surrounding menstrual leave has gained significant momentum, sparking discussions about gender equality, workplace inclusivity, and the wellbeing of people who menstruate.
The topic of menstruation has historically been shrouded in silence and stigma. However, as societal attitudes evolve and awareness grows, there is a growing recognition of the importance of menstrual leave as a means to empower women and promote their health and productivity in the workplace.
Menstrual leave refers to a policy that allows women to take time off work when they experience painful or debilitating menstrual symptoms (over 84% of women face pain during their periods).
This initiative aims to acknowledge the unique challenges women face during their menstrual cycles and provide them with the necessary support and flexibility to manage their health effectively. By granting menstrual leave, employers can foster a more inclusive work environment that values the wellbeing of all employees.
This article is going to explore the importance of menstrual leave and how you can go about offering it to your team.
Why Is Menstrual Leave So Important?
As employers and companies strive to create inclusive and supportive work environments, it is crucial to recognize the importance of menstrual leave.
Menstruation is a natural and unavoidable part of many people’s lives and providing appropriate support during this time can have a profound impact on both individual employees and the overall success of the organisation.
Here are a few key reasons why menstrual leave is so important:
1. Promoting Employee Wellbeing
Menstrual cycles can bring about a range of physical and emotional symptoms that may significantly impact someone’s ability to perform at their best.
From excruciating cramps to fatigue and mood swings, these symptoms can be debilitating and make it challenging for employees to focus and be productive.
By offering menstrual leave, employers demonstrate their commitment to supporting the wellbeing of their employees, allowing them the time and space needed to manage their menstrual health effectively.
2. Enhancing Workplace Productivity
Acknowledging the challenges faced by women during their menstrual cycles and providing them with the option of menstrual leave can actually contribute to increased productivity in the long run.
When employees are granted the flexibility to take time off during their periods, they can rest, recover, and recharge.
This ultimately leads to higher job satisfaction, improved work performance, and reduced absenteeism.
3. Fostering Gender Equality and Inclusion
Menstrual leave is an essential step towards achieving gender equality in the workplace. By implementing this policy, companies send a clear message that they value and respect the unique needs and experiences of their entire workforce.
It helps break down societal taboos surrounding menstruation, promotes open conversations, and creates an inclusive culture that acknowledges and embraces the realities of women's health.
4. Attracting and Retaining Talented Employees
In today's competitive job market, companies that prioritise employee wellbeing and inclusivity stand out as desirable employers. Offering menstrual leave as part of a comprehensive benefits package can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talented employees.
It shows that the organisation values work-life balance and cares about the holistic health of its workforce.
5. Setting a Positive Example
Companies that lead the way by implementing menstrual leave policies become advocates for change. By taking this step, employers contribute to the broader movement of normalising menstruation and challenging societal norms.
This positive example can inspire other organisations to follow suit, ultimately creating a more equitable and supportive society for women.
How To Implement Menstrual Leave Policies
By implementing menstrual leave policies, it’s clear that companies can create an environment that supports the wellbeing of all employees.
Want to be the kind of organisation that gives the best to each individual in your team?
Here are some key tips that will help companies looking to implement menstrual leave:
1. Education and Awareness
Start by fostering a culture of understanding and education around menstrual health. Train managers and employees to recognize why menstrual leave is so important.
Educate the workforce about the range of experiences people may have during menstruation, including physical and emotional symptoms, and the importance of supporting colleagues during this time.
2. Review Existing Policies
Assess your existing leave policies to determine if they adequately address the needs of employees who experience periods.
Evaluate the flexibility and provisions offered, such as sick leave or personal days, and consider whether specific menstrual leave policies are needed to better accommodate employees during their menstrual cycles.
If you already offer unlimited leave and you have a culture where your team feels comfortable taking the day off due to their menstrual pain, you may not actually need to create a full menstrual leave policy.
However, if this is the case, it’s still important that you vocalise that your team should be taking time off when they experience menstrual pain.
3. Gender-Inclusive Language
Ensure that all policies, communications, and documentation related to menstrual leave (and everything else, of course!) use inclusive language.
Avoid gendered terms such as "women" or "female" and instead use inclusive terms like "people who menstruate" or "employees who experience periods."
This practice respects the experiences of transgender and non-binary employees and creates an environment that values and supports diversity.
4. Confidentiality and Privacy
Respecting the privacy and confidentiality of employees when it comes to matters related to menstruation is crucial for creating a supportive work environment.
Create a safe and confidential space for employees to request menstrual leave or discuss their needs.
Assure employees that their privacy will be respected and that they will not face discrimination or stigma for taking advantage of these policies.
5. Flexible Work Arrangements
Recognize that the impact of menstruation can vary from person to person. Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible working hours, to accommodate employees who may require additional support during their periods.
This flexibility allows employees to manage their menstrual health effectively while maintaining their productivity and wellbeing.
6. Ongoing Evaluation and Feedback
Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your menstrual leave policies by seeking feedback from employees. Encourage open discussions about what is working well and what improvements could be made.
Incorporate this feedback to continuously improve and refine your policies to better meet the diverse needs of your workforce.
Menstrual leave is not just a luxury; it is a necessity. By recognizing the unique challenges faced by people during their menstrual cycles and offering appropriate support, employers and companies can make a significant impact on their employees' wellbeing, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
Embracing menstrual leave is a crucial step towards building inclusive workplaces that value gender equality, promote open dialogue, and prioritise the health and happiness of all employees. It is time for employers and companies to take action and champion the importance of menstrual leave.