Earlier this week, Bristol-based organisation Coexist hit the headlines with the news that it has introduced ‘period leave’ for its employees.
This will enable staff to stay home should they feel the need to without having to make excuses or take the time as sick leave.
I have to say I’m in two minds about the policy. On one hand, I do feel it should be applauded for removing some of the stigma some employees may feel about taking time off in such circumstances.
It may also have a positive impact on productivity by allowing afflicted staff to work from home if they are able, where they will arguably be more comfortable, rather than forcing themselves into the workplace and suffering in silence.
As well as higher productivity levels, supporting staff in this way is also likely to lead to higher workforce engagement and loyalty.
But, should we really need a policy for this at all?
Increasingly, we are hearing from employers that they are working towards creating more flexible ways of working to enable staff to better balance their work and personal lives, both in terms of working hours and in where employees work. So, wouldn’t a policy that enables all staff, regardless of gender, to rearrange when and how they work if they are feeling under par be better suited to achieving this type of culture?
Of course, for any type of leave policy, whatever the circumstances it is structured around, being able to trust employees not to take advantage is key.
So, is ‘period leave’ a step forwards or backwards for employers and employees?