The latest findings from the CIPD’s report Menstruation and support at work, which surveyed more than 2,000 women, found that more than two thirds (69%) of women have a negative experience at work because of their menstruation symptoms.
The CIPD is calling on organisations to create awareness, tackle the stigma associated with menstruation, and train managers to be confident, comfortable and inclusive when talking to employees about menstrual health.
The most common symptoms reported include abdominal cramps (60%), irritability (52%), fatigue (49%) and bloating (49%) but there are a wide range of symptoms experienced. Of those who experienced symptoms, four-fifths (61%) said they had worked when they didn’t feel well enough to, and one in five (20%) took sick leave.
The report highlights that, despite 53% of women surveyed being unable to attend work at some point in their career because of menstruation symptoms, nearly half (49%) said they never tell their manager the absence is related to their menstrual cycle.
Sadly, when asked why they didn’t feel able to say why they were not able to go into work, the report finds that 45% of women felt that the problem would be trivialised and 43% felt embarrassed.
According to the survey, just one in ten (12%) women say that their organisation provides support for menstruation and menstrual health conditions. The report shows that employees experiencing menstruation symptoms would value a range of support from employers with free period products, paid time off for medical appointments and paid sick leave being the three top-rated opportunities.
The CIPD has published a practical guide alongside the report, offering helpful support and guidance to employers, as well as an overview of how to care for employees with menstrual health symptoms.
Outlined in the guide are key principles to promote awareness and good practice around menstruation, including building an open and inclusive culture, raising awareness and tackling stigma, offering helpful support and policies at work, and providing training and support for people managers.
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