Is having a "menstrual leave" policy smart or sexist?
I always know when my period is coming. I get a horrendous headache and cramps that make me want to curl up in a ball and die. Oh, plus I'm moody and I hate everyone. So during this brutal PMS period (get it?), I rarely want to interact with people, or do anything. Yet, I must. I mean, it's not like you can call your boss and say, "Hey, I'm not up for working today because I have cramps." But what if you could?
Well, if you work at a U.K. company called Coexist, a menstrual leave policy may soon be a reality, according to CBS News.
The firm is looking to "begin a conversation about flexibility in the workplace to support the natural cycles of men and women." So basically if you feel like garbage during your period, you can be honest about it, and take time off.
Critics of the idea say it's patronizing to women, and reinforces the idea that we are the weaker sex in the workplace. Seriously, imagine men calling out of work because of a natural process like, say, balding.
But while humbling, losing your hair due to aging doesn't involve excruciating pain and uncontrollable salt cravings. That's why advocates of a menstrual leave policy have said it's progressive in that it addresses the realities of being a woman, and removes the stigma of talking about having your period.
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I'm left wondering why we need to be so honest? Instead of calling out of work for menstruation-related pain, could you not just say you aren't feeling well? I guess this is all just a little too personal for me. But the specific policy Coexist is considering wouldn't count a "period day" as a "sick day." So women would get more time off, if needed.
Does this constitute preferential treatment? The company's director Bex Baxter says menstrual leave would simply allow employees to synchronize work with the "natural cycles of the body." Ultimately, she thinks that would lead to the company being more productive. (Or did she mean, reproductive? Hah!)
What's your take?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.