Should You Be Getting Paid ‘Period Leave’?

Should You Be Getting Paid ‘Period Leave’?

For some, periods are excruciating, mood plummeting, chocolate-consumption-increasing monsters. What if you were told you could take a paid day off to stay under the covers and recuperate when on your period. Is this something we could be doing that we don’t know about?

Periods make many women want to curl up under the covers in a dark room and hide from the world. Or curl up under a blanket with naughty snacks and watch a full season of Friends. Maybe you’re lucky and don’t suffer too badly, but what if it was a legal right for you to have up to three days of paid leave a month for those times when your period really is unbearable?

Well apparently Japan and South Korea already offer paid menstrual leave and Italian parliament is going through the motions of deciding whether to approve it in their country too. Alas, it isn’t an official thing in the UK, although I suppose you could legitimately call in sick if you had to – but this would be undoubtedly unpaid. well it would be in my supermarket job anyway.

I first heard of this from a post by The Pink Parcel called Paid ‘Period Leave’ – Would You Take it? and it inspired me to do some research of my own. (Sidenote: Pink Parcel make amazing subscription boxes aimed to make your period that bit less awful.) Paid Period Leave is such an intriguing concept – one which piqued my interest as soon as I heard about it. You may initally think, ‘Great. Just what I’ve always wanted.‘ but there are a few other sides to this to debate.


The Debate

Critics of the idea suggest it would create inequality in the workplace – or worsen it. Indeed, it could give our male counterparts a better position. Consider a situation where two people of equal credentials are applying for the same job. One is male, the other female. They are more likely to hire the man who isn’t entitled to 3 extra days off per month. It makes more financial sense from a ‘hard figures’ point of view.

Many argue that this is a progressive step to take. Women won’t be working to their full potential while on the worst days of their period. They will be more energised and focused once returning to work after a few days leave.

It seems there needs to be a little more discussion on this topic. Perhaps a more flexible working pattern in some cases rather than paid days off could work? I still feel this could cause women problems when in competition with men. Maybe employers need to decide to allow women to take paid period leave. If a few large companies take it on, others are sure to follow their example.


My View

There will inevitably be people taking advantage of the system. Many women may manage to get themselves to work and cope okay when on their period. But if it was available they would call in and take a paid day off. Everybody suffers differently. I don’t think I would need to take a paid period day very often – I generally get by at work. I can feel really horrible, but the only times I call into work are when I’m extremely flu-ey. There are many women who suffer worse than I do and have to spend days in bed. Paid period leave is for these women. The women in crippling pain. It is also for the women who have to call in sick when they’re on their period and they have to watch their wages dwindle.

This is my view – and one that could be the result of being brought up not to take days off unless you really can’t function. If you can go to the gym on your period, or do the housework on your period then I reckon you can go to work on your period.

Paid period leave is such an innovative idea – one that makes so much sense. It has quite a few drawbacks – but surely there is a way to get past these?

I would love to hear what your views on this topic are – would you take it? Do you think it could work?



  1. March 2, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    A really interesting post – something I’ve never thought of before. I agree that there may be some complications as highlighted with regards to the hiring process and how other women may take advantage of it when they may not necessarily need it. It’s a tough one. I personally suffer from a gynaecological disorder which is very painful, leading to cysts and even my organs fusing together. I no longer have my periods every month, but I still needed to take the occasional sick days due to the impact of my health condition where it wouldn’t be safe for me to travel and I just cannot walk! I eventually had to leave my job after three sick days because that was the ‘limit’ and “it’s not acceptable”. I do think women’s health needs to be taken more seriously and maybe women can receive extra sick days…can we consider medical notes? I don’t know – I just know I’d take them unpaid.

    – Maira

    • naomirowan
      March 2, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      Yes I totally get this! I am fairly lucky with period pain, it is bad, but manageable compared to some women. But I do get terrible migraines which make me very sick for 12 hours to a whole day. They are awful… I walked to work one day thinking it would get better but it didn’t and I was sick twice on the way (countryside walk). Thankfully my bosses are relatively trusting and understanding. I totally get what you’re saying, it must be awful with people who don’t take your health issues into consideration!

  2. February 17, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    What an interesting post! I wasn’t aware period leave was so progressive in Japan and South Korea! Whilst i can see all the drawbacks particuarky the risk of it being exploited, there really has to be a situation whereby this could work for women. If we think about how technology is changing, and i appreciate this is very industry-dependent, but there has to be more flexibility for remote working for men and women, life is changing.
    In my company 85% of my colleagues are women and nearly all of us have laptops so even the option to have flexibility to work from home (chocolate and Friends box set rejoice!) when there is the need to would be great! And avoid the awkward queue at the coffee area to get my hot water bottle heated whilst everyone’s making their morning cuppa! 🙂

    • naomirowan
      February 17, 2018 / 7:00 pm

      Hi Ruby! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. It really is something that needs to be considered as industries progress. I would love to work remotely – I envy you that option!

  3. January 10, 2018 / 11:08 pm

    Such an interesting post! I can kind of see points on boths sides… I get the idea that people would take advanatage. I wonder if it would work better if people had doctors notes, or had medical issues with their period. It’s a difficult one! Definitely something to be looked into though!

    • naomirowan
      January 10, 2018 / 11:36 pm

      Yeah it’s such a thought-provoking idea! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

    • naomirowan
      January 6, 2018 / 6:57 pm

      Me either, they’re bad but not usually debilitating. Thanks for reading!

  4. June 13, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    This is such an interesting post and love the look of your blog! Also, I nominated you for a blogger recognition award!! So if you wouldn’t mind checking out my latest post on for all the rules and details, that’d be lovely! xx

    • naomirowan
      July 4, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much! Sorry I only just saw this! I will, thanks again for leaving a comment x

  5. CreativeMisfit
    May 26, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    I do think this is a good idea but I do think people would take the mick. and i also think some men may get their backs up about it.

  6. May 9, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    This was such an interesting read! Personally my periods usually aren’t that bad I can cope with the pain with a few pain killers when it gets too intense. However, I think the idea of paid leave for those who really suffer is a fab idea! Xx

  7. Harriet
    May 9, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    This is such an interesting post! I didn’t realise it was a thing in some countries and I really think so many more companies and countries should consider it!

  8. mbeltinor30
    May 5, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    That was a great post. Every time I had my period I wanted to stay home.

  9. May 5, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    Great post! 🙂 When I was younger I suffered from just about the worst periods on earth and I still did my 40+ hours a week. I personally think women are just trying to find another way to get paid for being a woman. They want equal rights, and then they cry foul. Nah, I don’t think anyone should have it. If it is that bad, they need to take a sick day. 😉

    • naomirowan
      May 5, 2017 / 2:36 pm

      Yep! I think that’s the general consensus! I manage too, and I think people not managing at all will be a pretty special case in which they need to have their GP in the know so they can get notes easily.

  10. May 5, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    This was a really interesting topic, and I totally agree with your view!

  11. May 5, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Such and interesting topic and definitely a tricky subject!

  12. May 4, 2017 / 7:32 pm

    Hmmm, its really an interesting topic. For me I have to admit, that I don´t have problems to go somewhere when I´m having a period, but from time to time I literally suffers a lot. Sometimes I can´t even get up from the bed properly and I just can´t do anything. In that case I would like to take a free day from work but even in case it wouldn´t be paid.

    • naomirowan
      May 4, 2017 / 6:43 pm

      I’m the same! I just bet there are some women out there who struggle more than I do.

  13. May 4, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    I do agree that it’s a big step from equality. Not just that hireing a man who won’t get 12 extra paid days off so business wise he would make more sense, but how can we fight for equality then expect special treatment.
    I get that cramps can be bad and it’s hard to work when you’re moody and emotional, but I don’t think we need paid sick days. I mean mine gets me to where I have to lay in the most awkward position (after a hip surgery I feel the cramps pulling in my hip-idk how) and I feel so gross, but it is what it is, and I’ve still got people who rely on me to be at work.
    I feel like if you’ve got the sick days then that should suffice, or maybe get a doctor note to excuse you if it’s that bad. I don’t feel like the women who suffer that badly should be penalized, but I don’t think I agree with paid days off for it.
    (I mean all of that in the nicest most sympathetic way possible)

    • naomirowan
      May 4, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      I think you’ve summed up how I feel pretty well! Maybe they could get a note from the doctor so it doesn’t diminish their sick days or something along those lines.

  14. May 4, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I suffer big time that time of the month, and I actually had a colleague that took 2 or so days off every single month because hers was so bad. I do understand why it would be off putting though to hire a female with a ruling like that as they’re assured less productivity. Also some ladies may take it just for the sake of taking it. Difficult one.

    • naomirowan
      May 4, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      It’s very tricky. As you say, there are women who NEED it…

  15. May 4, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    This is so interesting! I’d never thought about his before!

  16. May 2, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    I had no idea this was a debate, but I can totally see both sides of it. I know a few gals who literally can’t get out of bed when they get their periods so that would be amazing for them.

    • naomirowan
      May 2, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      Yeah it’s awful! Just such a shame it would almost take us backwards in gender equality in the workplace… Maybe it should be something that your GP assesses and grants, that you do not legally have to state to an employer when applying for a job? But even if that were the case employers could choose a man instead just to be on the safe side… Hmmm

      • May 4, 2017 / 2:11 pm

        Very true, it’s such a catch 22 subject.

  17. May 2, 2017 / 9:56 pm

    I’ve honestly never heard of this, and while yes there would be positive to this, I just don’t think it would fly. I know from prior jobs were girls called in because there periods were harsh, others would rag on them. I do see the positive and it’s defiantly a great discussion to have.

    • naomirowan
      May 2, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Yeah I don’t think it would either. Unfortunately, it has too many downfalls in my opinion. It’s just such a shame that some women end up having to take unpaid sick leave for something which naturally happens to our bodies every month! This lessens the amount of sick leave they have for actual sicknesses… Such a tricky situation!

  18. May 1, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    This is such an interesting debate! I did not know it was becoming a thing. Thanks for the info. I generally feel better when I take Advil regularly during my period, but that time of the month definitely makes any job harder, so I can’t imagine being one of the ladies who becomes bedridden. I do think it would cause some separation between women and men in the workplace if women got paid period leave. Maybe women could just be granted a few extra sick days? Most would probably not even use them, but it is not really fair for women to have the same amount of sick days as men and have to use one one day because of period issues. Then she would have less sick days for other kinds of illnesses. Men don’t have to worry about that! Wow. This is definitely an intricate situation!!

    • naomirowan
      May 1, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      Yeah, I’m lucky, I suffered worse when I was younger. Yeah I definitely think it would be an issue. I hadn’t thought of that – that would actually work! Although all sick days are unpaid for me – so it wouldn’t be paid leave. Very tricky situation…

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