: Employers Are Starting to Adopt ‘Menstrual Leave’ Policies. Could It Backfire? #WorldNEWS As a municipal employee of five years in the Catalan city of Girona, Spain Miriam Requena has an array
Employers Are Starting to Adopt ‘Menstrual Leave’ Policies. Could It Backfire? #WorldNEWS
As a municipal employee of five years in the Catalan city of Girona, Spain Miriam Requena has an array of benefits: sick leave, personal days and paid vacation time. When menstrual leave was added to the list, she was initially surprised.
“I had never realized that we needed this kind of flexibility,” 31-year old Requena told TIME. But she quickly saw its value. “It shatters all taboos to be able to say ‘listen, I’m menstruating, sometimes that provokes certain pains that impede me from going to work or being 100% productive. ’”
The city of Girona recently became the first city in Spain to consider a menstrual leave policy for its more than 1,300 employees in April. A clutch of municipalities soon followed suit, from the Catalan towns of Ripoll and Les Borges Blanques to the eastern city of Castellón de la Plana, casting a handful of public administrations in Spain as standard-bearers and pioneers in Western Europe for a workplace policy that has sparked fierce debate around the world.
Girona is “carving out a new path” when it comes to women’s labor rights, Deputy Mayor Maria Àngels Planas told reporters in June after the city council voted overwhelmingly to allow people who menstruate—women, transgender men and nonbinary individuals—to take up to eight hours of leave a month, which they would then need to work as overtime within a three-month period. “We’re eliminating the taboo that exists around menstruation and the pain that some women suffer—that we suffer—during menstruation. ”
The policy, championed by local labor union Intersindical-CSC, was initially met with resistance from some employees. “We had some men who wondered why they weren’t getting leave while there were women who worried that this would reinforce the idea that menstruation is painful or that we’re victims,” says union rep Èrika Andreu.
Without such a policy, though, some are left making the difficult choice between working through menstrual symptoms or taking sick days or vacation time. A 2017 survey of 32,748 women in the Netherlands published in the British Medical Journal found that 14% had taken time off from work or school during their periods. Others said they had showed up even when they were in pain, struggling to work while enduring their symptoms, leading to what researchers estimated was an average of 8. 9 days of lost productivity per woman each year.
The debate over period leave
The clash between workplace demands and menstrual symptoms is what spurred Bex Baxter to begin crafting one of the earliest menstrual leave policies at a Western employer in 2016, while she was a director at the U.
0 Reactions React