Should Women Get Paid Period Leave?


Should Women Get Paid Period Leave?

Have you ever been sitting at your desk at work and suddenly felt a wave of period cramps? If you have, you are certainly not alone. Work days are long and difficult enough without your period begging you to curl up on the couch with a hot water bottle and Netflix.

We have some exciting news for you. Some countries are now taking action and providing paid period leave to women! Yes, please, and I'll take some! Although many other countries are still far from accomplishing this, it is a step in the right direction.

Women In the workforce and periods

Periods are a gift of life, but they can also bring with them some unpleasant side effects, such as period pains. This can substantially obstruct daily tasks.

According to a 2012 study, 20% of women have periods that are so painful that they are unable to work. We all know what that means: no job limits our financial and recreational opportunities.

So, what are the options?

Standing up for period equity

Women shouldn't be judged for receiving their period or experiencing symptoms that make them uncomfortable, and it appears that the rest of the world is finally catching on. Period equity - an equal right that recognises the value of a period, the care items required, and the fact that, yes, periods come with some serious cramping and we may all need a day off - is now being fought for by women.

Voices are beginning to be heard, thanks to movements like the 'HeForShe' or 'Times Up' campaigns, and the same can be said for period awareness.

If your workplace does not yet provide paid period leave, you can help urge them to do so by stocking bathrooms with free pads and tampons, just as they do toilet paper. According to a poll, 86% of women started their period in public and had no access to pads or tampons. That means these women most likely took time from work to go shopping for pads and tampons. Talk about inconvenient and time-consuming. We think that all women should have easy access to pads and tampons, and we assist businesses to achieve this by supplying their bathrooms with 100 per cent organic cotton pads and tampons.

Countries joining the fight

Italy is likely to become the first Western country to implement paid period leave, which will include three paid days off per month. The paid period leave is only offered to women who have dysmenorrhea, which must be confirmed to their employer with a medical certificate, which must be reissued every year.

Period discomfort in the pelvis or abdomen is known as dysmenorrhea; however, women might also feel back pain, diarrhoea, and nausea.

While many people appreciate the Italian government for passing a law that recognizes menstrual pain, detractors fear that it would exacerbate gender disparity in the workplace and have a negative impact on employment procedures.

Maternity discrimination is already prevalent in Italy, with "just 61 per cent of Italian women working, significantly below the European norm of 72 per cent (71 per cent in the United States)." (The Washington Post's Anna Momigliano)

Menstrual leave is currently in effect in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Menstrual leave has been a legal right for women in Japan since 1947! (Congratulations, Japan!) Despite the fact that the four countries' menstrual leave policies differ (Taiwan only offers three days per year against Japan's two days per month), they all understand that menstrual leave should be treated separately from regular sick leave.

Many women, however, continue to take unpaid sick leave for menstruation out of fear of being stigmatized if they take paid menstrual leave. Countries aren't the only ones who have made menstruation leave mandatory in the workplace. "Nike implemented menstruation leave in 2007 and requires business partners to sign a contract of understanding to ensure they uphold Nike's standards." (Independent, Kayleigh Lewis)

It's a start, and perhaps a movement that will transform the way people think about periods in the workplace.

What if I don't have paid period leave?

Have terrible periods and menstrual cramps but don't have paid period leave? Here are some suggestions for reducing the effects of uncomfortable moments in the workplace:

To relieve menstruation cramps, try herbal tea.

Getting some activity over your lunch break can help you feel better and reduce pain. Massage with essential oils to relieve discomfort

To aid with cramps, improve your nutrition - A low-fat diet reduces overall body inflammation.

So, how do you feel about paid leave? Should women be entitled to it without prejudice in the workplace? Periods are an important part of our life that should be celebrated by both men and women. Let's give paid period leave a big thumbs up!

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