Give Women Time Off For Painful Periods?
Should you or should you not?
Should you give women time off during this often painful time, over which they have no control? Even if it means giving them more time off than men or other non-menstruating folks in similar roles?
Of course — it’s a no-brainer.
Women get periods, period. Men do not. Neither has control over this.
I was motivated to write this article after today’s not-that-uncommon chat session with a team member as we finished monthly payroll calculations:
Can we review it tomorrow ? I got my period today, want go home now [Sob][Sob][Sob] SO SORRY as I feel so bad now; in a bad state.
Not caring for team members in such distress is hardly a recipe for a healthy workplaces, on many levels. More broadly, not strongly supporting women is hardly a recipe for success on any level: personal, professional, and company.
Not all, nor probably even most women want or need time off, but some surely do. While not all roles nor deadlines have the flexibility for sudden time off, in the end & work-wise, it’s similar to suddenly getting sick, and a bit of flexibility and understanding goes a long way. Everyone will be better off.
Male managers are often unwilling to discuss this embarrassing and often stigmatized or ‘icky’ topic. Get over it. Periods are a feature of female physiology that needs accommodating from time-to-time, nothing more. Oh, and while we are on this topic, don’t forget to install tampon machines in the bathrooms, too.
Of course, ill-informed men may make fun of these things, or compare monthly discomfort to “not-so-bad-that-I-can’t-work” sports injuries that they work through. Or ask why they can’t get time off for hunting or other ‘manly’ activity, though every women I know would much prefer working to being at home, perhaps in bed or on pain meds. Educate these men.
In the end, periods are just periods, period.
Support the women on your team by giving them time off when they need it.