News 2 March 2016
Author: Marisa Lee

Bristol company becomes first to introduce “period leave”

Author Marisa Lee
2 March 2016

During huge debates over whether men should get paternity leave for their kids, Coexist, a community interest company in Bristol, has just introduced a “period policy” to ease the working lives of it’s female staff.

That’s right- companies are finally starting to address the p-word, the taboos around it, and the profound effect it can have on women in the workplace.

The company currently has 24 members of staff, 7 of which are men, and aims to “‘tap into its employees’ natural cycle to create a happier and healthier working environment.”

Periods range greatly in pain from woman to woman, with some being completely bedbound during at least a few days of the week, if not all.

Bex Baxter, one of the directors at Coexist said, “As a manager of staff I have seen women really suffer with their periods and I have found them doubled over in a lot of pain.

“They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it. It started from there and we thought we had to see what we could do about it and try and break the last great taboo.

“Nothing like this has been done in the UK before, we believe, and if it has, it has been very small.”

She continued, “This is not about employees taking more time off but working more flexibly and efficiently around their menstrual cycle and encouraging a work-life balance.”

The policy has been created as part of the Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles In The Workplace seminar which will take place later this month.

Period pains are trouble for 50-70% of women, and considering they get the unspoken week every month of their lives, this policy has been a long time coming. Women unable to continue properly at work should no longer be blamed for their own bodily functions, as the problems not only damage their ability to work but also the company’s progress. If this can be helped by a few days off, leggo. And if you’re thinking that they should ‘man up’ and get over it, if woman can work from under a hot water bottle in her bed better than she can in a stuffy office where she can’t move, why shouldn’t she? Or if one day off helps the company for the rest of the week, what’s the problem? Period pains are an excuse to text your man loads of crying emojis and snap him pics of your cute face being lonely, and they are definitely an excuse to take some time of work. Not the kind of “oh, I’ve done really well this week time to take a day off and binge watch Making a Murder” excuse, but because they are a real, painful problem.