Why period leave should be non-negotiable in the workplace

March 28, 2023

Words by Danielle Toy - Digital Marketing Coordinator.

As a 30-something-year-old woman, you’d think I would be used to dealing with a monthly period; that I was well equipped to deal with the internal apocalypse that happens every 28 days, that I had a stash of Naprogesic in my bathroom at all times, that my house was littered with hot water bottles in the event I just *couldn’t handle it*.

But in truth, I do none of the above, because it’s inevitable that as a person with a functioning uterus, I will face being hormonal, tired, sometimes irritable, and definitely in pain every 28 days. And to be totally honest, I’d rather let my body (and uterus) do what it has to do naturally as opposed to self-medicating with whatever I have laying around the bathroom (which is likely expired anyway).

So when the news of Australian businesses pioneering paid period leave began to trickle into the media, you would be correct to assume that I was extremely grateful. Finally!! Women are being acknowledged for something they physiologically cannot control - to whom do we owe the pleasure?! 

Believe it or not, the movement towards paid period leave has been in the works internationally for many (many) years - in fact, Japan has had period leave since 1947. Despite this and Australia’s tardiness to normalising women’s health issues in the workplace, finding a company that actually offers period leave is like finding a needle in a haystack…

To add an extra element of difficulty to the realm of women’s health is Endometriosis or ‘endo’ for short. In Australia, endo affects around 1 in 9 women, and I am one of those 1 in 9. If you’re unfamiliar, endo has a wide range of symptoms and varies in severity. Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) painful, irregular periods, fatigue, digestive pain, bloating and just feeling like crap at any given time, even when you’re not on your period. Before being diagnosed a year ago, I spent many days in an office environment, riddled with pain and scared to tell my (predominately male) bosses why I was ‘out of it’. 

When I first started at The Atticism, I was relieved to learn that they are one of those Sydney-based-unicorn-companies that not only offer but encourage you to take “red days” aka period leave, when you’re feeling like you *just can’t*. For me personally, the ability to work from home or take a day off when I’m having a particularly painful period or endo day (or both, the joy!) truly makes the world of difference, both mentally and physically - it’s the workplace incentive I never knew I needed and now consider as a non-negotiable. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I believe period leave is an incentive that should be required across all workplaces - no questions asked, just like it is here at The Atticsm. 

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