Step 1: Make your case.
No matter what your role in your company is, you will need to make your case for this new idea. It will be helpful to have some facts and statistics to back up your proposal.
Menstrual cramps and pain are incredibly common.
According to the Women’s Health Concern, if you have menstrual cramps and pain you are not alone. Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lives. Most people who menstruate experience some discomfort during menstruation, especially on the first day. But, for 5-10% of people who menstruate, the pain is severe enough to disrupt their daily lives.
Another study done by the University of Southern California finds that rest is important for our health, development, and even for productivity.
When you think about it, it makes sense to offer paid menstrual leave to your employees. Therefore, it is not only the right thing to do, but well-rested and healthy employees are also better for business.
Step 2: Draft and refine.
Once you have buy-in from your team, you can craft your own policy. We suggest you keep it simple and straightforward. This way, everyone can understand the policy. Here’s a policy template.
Menstrual Leave Policy Template:
[ORGANIZATION NAME] strives to create and maintain a work environment that brings menstruation to light. The purpose of the Menstrual Leave Policy is to de-stigmatize discussion of menstruation in the workplace. It also supports employees’ different needs during their menstrual cycle.
- A menstrual leave day can be taken if the employee experiences pain or discomfort which prevents them from performing work duties to the best of their ability
- Menstruating employees are provided a maximum of 12 paid days per calendar year
- One (1) menstrual leave day may be taken per month
- Menstrual leave days cannot be carried over
- Time off request should be submitted in the same way that sick days are typically submitted
- Unused menstrual leave day credits are not paid out upon employee departure from the company
- A medical certificate is not required
Any harassment, discrimination, or resistance for taking a menstrual leave day is unwelcomed and not allowed. Please report any issues to the Human Resources team immediately if such occurrences take place.
Step 3: Implementation
You’re almost there! Now, you just need to officially launch the policy. Make sure to create cultural safety around its use. Be sure to share the full policy in writing when you announce it. This way, people can review and reference it when needed.
Depending on your organization and its comfort level talking about taboo topics, try hosting a meeting to train everyone on the policy. This can help to build the cultural safety that you need in order for people to feel safe using your new policy.
This training can include things like:
- Speaking about menstruation at work
- Processing requests for a paid menstrual leave day
- Responding when someone asks to use a paid menstrual leave day
- A question and answer period
Trying making the training open to everyone, not just your managers. This will help build a companywide culture of menstrual equity.
Finally, take time to celebrate! Being a people-first employer is something to be proud of! And supporting people who menstruate is a notable achievement.