Ladies, if you get painful cramps every month but force yourself to go to work anyway, we have some good news for you. Period leave is now becoming a thing around the world! Yes, really!
Coexist is the first British company to introduce a period policy.
The employees of this social community group are largely female, and so is the director. In the past, female employees were encouraged to go home when they suffered from menstrual cramps, but the company wanted to put a formal policy in place.
According to them, it’s about syncing work with the natural rhythms of the body to maximise productivity. “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,” says Bex Baxter, the director.
Nike has allowed menstrual leave since 2007.
The global conglomerate built the condition into its Code of Conduct in 2007. All the business partners that the company works with have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to follow the code.
A few Chinese provinces allow women to take paid leave if they provide medical certificates.
The Chinese provinces Anhui, Shanxi and Hubei have passed regulations that allow women to take a day or two off every month as long as they can provide medical certificates as proof that they suffer painful cramps. A fourth province, Guandong, is still contemplating whether or not to introduce the regulations.
However, this sounds a little better in theory than it is in practice. In reality, the rules are very vague and not realistically enforceable, because they apply only to ‘women stationed to their posts for extended periods of time’ and do not outline any consequences for companies that don’t give the women leave.
The regulations are intended to benefit female migrant workers who sweep the streets and work in factory assembly lines, but these same women may find it impossible to get medical certificates.
Furthermore, the regulations may make it hard for women to get jobs in the first place.
Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia allow menstrual leave.
Yes, that right! It started in 1947 when Japan introduced the concept of seiri-kuya, which is a monthly leave for women provided by the Labor Standards Law. South Korea introduced the rule in 2001, Indonesia in 2003 and Taiwan in 2014.
Unfortunately, like with China, these regulations are not really being implemented. Many women are not aware of these laws, and even if they are, they are reluctant to bring up the subject of menstruation with their bosses. Since the men don’t really understand the need for it, the women are looked down upon for claiming sick leave for their periods. They also have too much work and can’t afford to take the day off.