Challenges around menstruation and menstrual health are common and can have an impact on working life. Despite menstruation being a normal part of life, and the prevalence of menstrual health challenges, these issues are often shrouded in taboo and silence in the workplace. When asked whether they had told their manager that the reason for not being able to go into work was because of their menstrual cycle, CIPD research found that around half of employees (49%) said they never tell their manager it’s related to their menstrual cycle.

This taboo is linked to broader societal attitudes around menstruation and menstrual health issues, but also because dedicated menstruation and menstrual health policies and provisions remain rare. Our research found that two-thirds (67%) of employers said there is no support available.

Offering appropriate support in the workplace can make people feel included, offer dignity and reduce embarrassment. It can increase employee attendance and legitimise absence where this is needed. It can increase performance, engagement, retention and employer branding. 

Employers can improve employee experience by creating environments and work cultures that are menstruation-friendly, and by providing support for menstrual health conditions that is underpinned by the principles of compassion, empathy and inclusivity. 

We know employers come in all shapes and sizes, with different working practices and environments. This guide is designed to support any employer wanting to develop a supportive framework. The practical suggestions can be adapted for different work environments.

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