Coexist, a community interest company in Bristol, has a mostly female workforce and plans to “tap into its employees natural cycle to create a happier and healthier working environment”.
“As a manager of staff I have seen women really suffer with their periods and I have found them doubled over in a lot of pain,” said Coexist director Bex Baxter.
“They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it.”
Employees at Coexist are entitled to paid leave if they’re in pain during their period without claiming to be sick, and Baxter believes this new policy will increase productivity.
“There is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive – actually it is about synchronizing work with the natural cycles of the body,” she said. “If it were men who had periods then this policy would have been brought in sooner.”
She believes that when women are having their periods they are “in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies and the spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period, is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.”
Baxter expects some caveats and an open discussion on equality before the plan is officially in place. “We work on a triangle ethos of ‘trust, love and play’, so everyone at Coexist respects the company and gives more than 100 per cent to their work, so I don’t think we will have an issue with people deceiving us.”
The policy is part of the Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles In The Workplace and is based on the work of Alexandra Pope, the founder and creator of women’s leadership programme, Red School.
Source: body and Soul