We’ve all been there. The alarm goes off, tummy cramps are next-level agonising and your mood is on the floor. It’s that moment when you’d sell your mum to not have to go into work.
So what’s the plan? Do you:
a) Shuffle into the office and sit at your desk strapped to a hot water bottle?
b) Phone your boss citing a dodgy prawn / the broken boiler / train strikes, and go back under the duvet for the day?
c) Fess up why you want a day off, but cringe throughout the call, worrying that pulling the period card makes you look unprofessional. How awkward.
For women in Italy, there may soon be another option:
d) Take a ‘menstrual leave’ day. That’s right. Getting paid to stay at home if you’re suffering with your period.
In Japan and South Korea paid menstrual leave is already a thing, but if the proposals currently being considered in Italian parliament get approved, it will be the first country in the West with an official period policy. This means companies in Italy would be required to offer up to three days of paid leave a month for employees with painful periods.
Pink Parcel subscriber Rachel, 27, suffers from heavy bleeding and cramps for two days of every month. She says she has made up excuses not to go to work when feeling terrible with her period and would love to see menstrual leave available in the UK. “I’ll call in sick or fabricate a reason to work from home but then I feel dishonest and guilty, like I’m skiving. An official period policy would take it all above board and validate that I’m genuinely in too much pain to be at work.”
Reporting on the proposed law, Italian Marie Claire described it as “a standard-bearer of progress and social sustainability” but equally there has been criticism in Italy of the news.
In the women's magazine Donna Moderna, Lorenza Pleuteri wrote that paid menstrual leave runs the risk that "employers could become even more oriented to hire men rather than women".
Jenna, 25, a Pink Parcel subscriber, agrees, “It sounds fab in theory, but to be honest, I don’t want to be treated any differently to the guys at work. I’m not ashamed of my period, but I don’t want to be given special treatment or possibly be judged or held back, just because I have them. I’d rather keep the reasons for my days off private.”
What do you think? Would ‘menstrual leave’ be a godsend when we're feeling lousy, or a step backwards for women in the workplace? Let us know!
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