It’s that time of the month again… time to eat more, procrastinate, feel every emotion more intensely, and also, have a valid reason for it.
All women can relate to the above fully or partially thanks to their monthly periods.
Menstruation is a natural phenomenon that women go through every month in order to ensure that they have a healthy reproductive system.
While periods may look like a simple biological process caused by hormonal changes, 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.
Pain medication? Yes, but they don’t work for everyone, nor are they a perfect solution.
What is menstruation and how do women deal with menstrual cramps?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs one or two weeks before periods and tends to have an adverse effect on moods and body functions.
Menstrual cramps occur due to contractions in the uterus, which is a muscle. If the contractions are too strong, it can press against nearby blood vessels. This will briefly cut off the supply of oxygen to the uterus. Hence, this lack of oxygen is what causes the pain and cramps during your menstrual cycle.
Periods can affect a woman’s physical as well as mental abilities. Women often suffer from irritation, crankiness, fluctuating appetite, weakness, and allergies.
There is no avoiding menstruation or the cramps that follow and the most common way to deal with them is pain medication or resting, and other forms of pain management such as using hot water bags (these vary from person to person).
A woman on her periods is still considered a social stigma in parts of society. Thus, talking freely about periods is often forbidden. 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.
What is menstrual leave?
Menstrual leave policies must provide the possibility of taking a leave from work for women undergoing menstruation. Whether the leave is paid or unpaid, or whether it is for 1 day or more is up to the company to decide. Menstrual leaves should also be optional.
Another alternative to menstrual leave is to provide employees the option to work from home, although this may not be suitable for all types of professions. Furthermore, some women may also not be able to work from home if the pain is too bad.
The most important component of any menstrual leave policy is to provide support and understanding, whatever form it is in.
Is menstrual leave really necessary?
Menstrual leave is NOT sick leave, and should not be considered as such. Menstruation is not a sickness; it is a regular and natural process that occurs in women.
Now there is no avoiding menstruation, however, there are some things that make it more manageable, one of which is taking leave from work.
Being able to take a day off from the office relieves the pressure on women as they don’t have to worry about their work. Some women also opt not to take pain medication (if the pain is less) in exchange for a full day’s rest (again, this differs from person to person).
How effective is menstrual leave?
Each woman experiences their periods differently. Some women have painful period cramps and are sick in bed, while others barely even know they are having their period. So we can’t generalize period pain for all women. Women make up about 40% of the composition of global workforce, and 20% of women suffer from intense menstrual cramps, a condition called dysmenorrhea.
In mid 2013, The Waratah Project was conducted and documented the experiences, central issues, stigma, and negativity around the topic of menstruation & menopause. An online survey of 3,400 people (across Australia and globally) was done in this project, which included women from all walks of life.
This survey showed that 58 percent of respondents felt that a day off to rest would make their period a better experience every month.
Taking period leave helps women deal with their period cramps in the comfort of their home. It helps them be less dependent on pain medications that are harmful for them in long run.
Do companies provide menstrual leave?
All companies provide sick leave (in Nepal this is around 12 sick leaves per year as mandated by the Nepali government as of 2019). However there are very few companies locally who provide menstrual leave.
The situation isn’t different around the world either, and only a .
Interestingly in Bihar, India, female government employees get two days off every month for “biological reasons” on top of their regular leaves.
Menstrual leave at ACT360
ACT360 has recently implemented a policy allowing 1 period leave (paid) every month. This leave application process has been added to our regular leave process and is confidential.
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.
We are hopeful this initiative will promote a positive attitude of women towards their periods and help them be more energized and prepared for work after their leave. As our core purpose says, we are, have been and always will Do Awesome Things.