A Bristol firm named Coexist is planning on introducing a period policy which will allow women to take time off during their menstrual cycles if they agree to make it up at a later date. Essentially it’s flexitime but based around your periods.
Policies such as this have already been employed in China, Japan, Korea and parts of Taiwan, but this is the first time one will be introduced in the UK. Company director Bex Baxter explained her decision to implement this policy:
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.
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.
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.
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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.
So it is about balancing work-load in line with the natural cycles of the body.
We work on a triangle ethos of ‘trust, love and play’, so everyone at Coexist respects the company and gives more than 100 per cent to their work, so I don’t think we will have an issue with people deceiving us.
I was talking to someone the other day and they said if it were men who had periods then this policy would have been brought in sooner.
But we just want to celebrate and start talking about menstruation in a positive way, rather than the negativity which has shrouded the cycle.
The exact details of the policy have already been worked out by the company but will be ruled revealed and discussed – with room for alteration – at a seminar later this month.
I personally think it’s a great move and that Baxter is right – the stigma of periods and period pain means that it’s very rarely discussed by women in any context except amongst each other, and as such I don’t really ever have any idea what they’re going through and how it may or may not affect their work. Hopefully policies such as these – providing they work of course – can become the norm and enable women to deal with their periods in a more comfortable environment whilst not adversely affecting their careers. Fair play.
If it gives women more time to create pictures of Donald Trump out of their period blood too, then that’s even more of a bonus.