HR magazine seeking urgent comment

ended 18. May 2021

A journalist at HR Magazine is putting together a news story on how a quarter of women have had to lie to their employer to take time off due to PMS symptoms.

She's seeking views from HR professionals about what HR teams need to do to create an environment and culture where women feel supported enough to openly discuss how their PMS is affecting them, and whether they need time off for it?

Please send some short and punchy alert_responses. Deadline is tight!

4 responses from the Newspage community

"If we’re still struggling to have basic conversations about things that have happened since time immemorial, you have to ask what management teams have been doing. "This is a basic conversation that boils down to either lack of confidence in the employee and/or trust in the manager; we shouldn't need HR departments to get involved in writing policies on how to deal with this but instead have healthy conversations. "Now if the conversation is around menopause and the lack of resource and conversation around that subject, that’s a completely different matter. Support on that side is woefully inadequate and requires work and a common sense approach in both knowledge and understanding."
"As a woman in the wellbeing industry, you might think I'd be in support of women being able to discuss PMS symptoms and time off, but I'm not. There are many ways to manage PMS symptoms that work really well so my suggestion is to encourage women to take action to improve how they feel rather than have to feel awful for days at a time each month. "Of course, if women are still feeling ill due to PMS and need time off, they should be able to take time off. Why does there need to be a big discussion about it? Do you ask an employee about their back pain or ulcerated hernia? No. You ask how long they might be off for and what support, if any, you can give them to make them feel included and help them to get back to full health. The same goes for PMS."
“Unfortunately PMS at work is often overlooked by managers and can leave women feeling isolated. "Employers need to ensure that senior management are properly trained, and that includes high quality information about menstruation and menopausal health. "Menstrual leave might not be viable for large employers so taking sick leave should become a reality, and a welcome one at that. “Policies should be put in place to create a positive culture that empowers women and supports their wellbeing and effectiveness, and that includes adequate rest breaks that don’t need to be justified. “Employers should provide free sanitary products in the exact same way that toilet roll is provided. “In all cases, an open and honest culture should be fostered, with the organisation’s leaders taking the responsibility of role-modelling the desired cultural behaviour.”
“A challenge of raising awareness specifically for PMS and other women’s health issues is that they problematise women by default. In some cases, this can lead to further disadvantages for women in the workplace. “The way around this is to 'de-link' health, wellbeing and care commitments from gender. Instead, companies should set out to normalise the conversation not only around PMS, but around all topics that impact people of any gender — and then work out what support is appropriate, be it flexibility or time off. “For example, employees could choose to take a wellbeing day, much like the ‘duvet day’ concept. It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but adding more spokes to support all employees irrespective of gender."