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.
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.
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?