It’s that time of the month again. Time to eat more, time to feel every emotion more intensely and have a valid reason for it. Every woman can relate to this context fully or partially. Every month, women have to go through the dread of having their periods.
Menstruation (there, I said it) is a natural phenomenon that women go through every month in order to ensure that they have a healthy reproductive system.
Periods look like a simple biological process of women going through hormonal changes. However, for almost 80% of women, periods are equivalent to nightmares because of the gut-wrenching cramps, nausea, bloating of body parts, weakness and sometimes, even migraines. Although pain medications are easily available, it doesn’t work for everyone.
Dealing with menstruation
There is no avoiding menstruation, however, there are some things that make it easier, one of which is taking leave from work. All companies provide sick leave (in Nepal this is around 12 sick leaves per year as mandated by the Nepali Govt.). However there are very few companies who provide menstrual leave.
The situation isn’t different around the world either, with only a few countries like Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan who actually have laws that ensure menstrual leave for women.
At ACT360, we have recently introduced period leaves to make our work environment more welcoming for our employees, of which 33% are women.
Why? Because we don’t like seeing our family of superstars who are normally cool and collected, being cranky and irritated, or doubling over on their desk with unbearable pain due to cramps. They need rest and deserve to take leave without worrying about the number of sick leaves they have left.
Is it really necessary?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs one or two weeks before periods and tends to have an effect on moods and body functions. Periods affect a woman’s physical as well as mental abilities. Hence, period leave is necessary and must be made available to women at the workplace.
Girls, first of all, taking period leaves won’t make you look weak. Men and women are biologically different. Even women are different, with some having a harder time than others during their period.
More importantly, not only does it affect you but it also affects your work. Women worldwide feel compelled to come to work during their periods, however, they fail to give their 100% on their tasks.
Most companies are too focused on addressing absenteeism as a negative influence on productivity that they forget presenteeism might cost them even more. In fact, presenteeism (which is the problem of employees coming to work despite not being 100% due to illness or other reasons) is a larger problem.
Does it work?
Having a set of policies in your company which addresses period leaves will boost a female employee’s morale and also create a positive atmosphere at work. Menstrual leave is NOT sick leave, and should not be considered as such. Menstruation is not a sickness. It is a regular natural process that occurs in women.
Menstrual leave is a privilege and a necessity. International companies like Nike, Cultural Machine and Gozoop have policies for paid menstrual leave. Sadly, it is not as widely in use as it should be.
In Bihar, women employees in government services get two days off every month for this purpose. In a lot of developed countries, employee-centric policies like these cause a boost in morale and are beneficial for the companies as well as the employees.
Following these inspirational examples from all around the world we, women at ACT360, were gratified when 1 day of period leave every month were put on effect from February 4th, 2019. As our core purpose says, we are, have been and always will Do Awesome Things.