A Bristol company has become the first workplace in the UK to introduce a “period policy”, saving its female staff from having to work while suffering from painful cramps during their periods.
Social enterprise company Coexist says women will be allowed to take time off during their period and make up the time later.
Menstrual leave exists in Japan, parts of China, South Korea and Taiwan. It is thought the company – which employs 24 workers including seven men – is one of the first firms to introduce it in the UK.
“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,” manager Bex Baxter told the Bristol Post. “Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.”
Baxter added that a “period policy” also made good business sense. “There is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive,” she said. “Actually, it is about synchronising work with the natural cycles of the body.”
The decision was taken ahead of a Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles in the Workplace seminar based on the work of women’s leadership guru Alexandra Pope, which is due to take place at Hamilton House later this month.
Coexist hopes the policy will not only increase employees’ wellbeing and efficiency, but also help remove some of the stigma which still lingers around the subject of menstruation.
“We just want to celebrate and start talking about menstruation in a positive way, rather than the negativity which has shrouded the cycle,” Baxter said.