Let’s talk period leave!

What is period leave?
  • Also known as menstrual leave, or a menstrual leave policy at work
  • Means time off work due to painful or debilitating period symptoms, usually as a set number of paid-leave days every year but can also be unpaid
  • This does not cover flexible working arrangements, including flexible working hours or remote or hybrid working. These are separate options that can be a part of a menstrual welfare policy
  • Can often go along with menopause leave and related policies
Should all workplaces have period leave and policies?

Yes, they should! At Fórsa, we have been exploring the impact of remote working and time-off when it comes to menstruation and menopause. And we believe a combination of supports, flexible working, and leave would make sure that workers are able to do their job to the best of their ability.

We based this on research on best practices as well as the experiences of our own trade union membership. Our research involving 1,800 members found that 70% had taken time off work due to period pain. One in four also said they had been diagnosed with a specific menstrual condition, which resulted in medical symptoms including very heavy bleeding, migraines, and nausea.

Why does it need to be its own type of leave?

We have different types of paid and unpaid leave beyond the standard sick leave. Menstruation leave recognises that these are additional issues that many workers have to deal with, on top the illnesses we all face. It should also go hand-in-hand with other supports to limit the need to take leave at all. You can find out more about that here.

Periods are a natural part of life for many women, non-binary and trans people. It’s about time we made sure our workplaces worked for everyone!

Check out the Resources section for more information about what menstrual and menopause policies can include, a flyer for your workplace, a policy template, and for some handy tips as well.

A woman smiling next to the stop the stigma logo. Representing what is period leave, menstrual leave?.

Spain is leading the way, Ireland needs to catch up!

Spain recently became the first European country to allow those with painful periods to take paid menstrual leave from work.

The new legislation allows workers to be granted a three-day menstrual leave of absence – with the possibility of extending it to five days – for those with debilitating period symptoms, on the recommendation of a doctor’s note.

And it’s the State, not individual employers, that picks up the tab for it.

Do you think Ireland is ready to start the conversation now? If so, you can tweet out your support for the campaign by clicking here.

And you can find free resources for your own workplace here.

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