A Case For Menstrual Leave

Period pain linked to 9 days of lost productivity annually.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Researchers of a new study have found that menstrual or period pain was linked to nearly nine days of lost productivity among workers annually.

The study published in the BMJ Open journal, is the one of the first and largest of its kind looking at the impact of menstrual pain on workplace productivity.

It surveyed 32,748 women in the Netherlands between the ages of 15 – 45, measuring how much time off they took from school or work, due to them feeling ill.

The study found that around one in seven women had taken time off during their period at some point of time. Almost five percent were forced to do so during every or nearly every mentrual cycle.

It also found that when women did call in sick during their period, only one in five told their employer or school, the real reason for their absence. This demonstrated the continued existence of a taboo on the issue of menstrual pain.

Women under the age of 21 were around three times more likely than those who were older to say they had taken time off because of their menstrual symptoms.

Four in five women said that they have been less productive during that time, resulting in them being absent for an average of 1.3 days annually. As a result, productivity loss was calculated at around 8.9 days per year.

68 per cent of respondents said they wished they had the option of more flexible hours to work or study during their period.

Theodoor Nieboer from the Radboud University Medical Center and an author of the report said to CNN, “Women said that they weren’t as productive as they could be while at work — they needed to go to the toilet every hour or they had a headache and couldn’t concentrate.”

“Despite being almost two decades into the 21st century, discussions about [symptoms] may still be rather taboo. There’s a need for greater openness about the impact of menstrual symptoms on work, and companies need to be more open about this with their female workers.”

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