Author: Zoya Ali BSc MSc
A 2019 BMJ study found that up to 14% of women took time off work during their menstrual periods due to symptoms such as heavy bleeding and period pain, with 3.4% reporting absenteeism almost every monthly menstrual cycle.
Furthermore, over 80% found themselves less productive due to their period symptoms for 23.2 days a year on average.
Unfortunately, period pain is incredibly common. Many might manage it with home remedies and over the counter medication; for up to 1 in 10 women, it can cause severe debilitating chronic pain, impacting their daily routine due to a condition called endometriosis.
The 2020 APPG report estimated that endometriosis costs the UK economy £8.2 billion a year in loss of work and healthcare.
A supportive workplace can improve employee productivity. Here are a few recommendations on how you can support your employees better:
1. Help people understand the basics of their reproductive health.
Many women grew up believing period pain was a normal part of life. Social and cultural taboos combined with a lack of education on menstrual health could explain why someone might not discuss their period-related symptoms or ignore them altogether.
Employers can help break this cycle of misinformation by referring employees to resources to understand their reproductive health better.
Additionally, organising lunch & learns and workshops can be a stepping stone to open dialogue and normalise conversations around period pain in the workplace.
2. Establish support in the workplace.
Experiencing pain in the workplace is challenging for employees. Providing flexible working hours, rotas and arrangements such as a quiet room, period products, heat packs, or modified workstations can support employees with the time they might need to prioritise their health.
Research on menstrual workplace policies from Monash University found that flexible policies based on the individual employee’s needs were more effective than a blanket period leave. Beyond policies, ensuring that managers are well-trained to talk about reproductive health and support employees through their struggles will also help create a supportive environment at work.
3. Find the right partner to support reproductive health policies.
Taking the first steps in making the workplace more period-friendly is a big task, which is why it is important to find a reputable expert provider who can support employers in educating their workforce, instating progressive policies and providing solutions to employees’ worries around their reproductive health.
Hertility Benefits for Your Workforce
Hertility Health is shaping the future of reproductive health by giving women the ability to understand and manage their hormone health from menstruation to menopause. We believe in a proactive approach to reproductive health – by detecting issues early, we can prevent issues later down the line.
We deliver our world-class reproductive health benefits to many leading companies and improve access to reproductive healthcare and education. We believe in personalised plans – for you and your employees – and offer a range of corporate plans and coverage options to suit your needs, from educational workshops, to female health assessments and consultations with in-house experts.
For early adopters that have existing fertility treatment benefits for employees, we help you protect that budget – our proactive hormone tests are a fraction of the clinic price and by identifying issues early we can prevent costly treatment. Where treatment is required, our blood tests are accepted by partner clinics and reduce time to treatment.
We provide DE&I impact reports, so you can see the tangible impact on your workforce and your bottom line.