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23rd Nov 2022

83% of women call for time-off policies for severe period symptoms

Sarah McKenna Barry

A recent study found that a huge number of women are already using their sick leave due to menstrual symptoms.

As various countries and workplaces around the world introduce measures designed to support those who experience severe period symptoms, new research suggests that the majority of Irish women would welcome similar measures here.

Earlier this year, the Spanish government approved a law that would grant menstrual leave for women suffering from period pain. Under the law, Spanish employees can avail of three days of paid menstrual leave per month, once they are assessed by a doctor. Other nations that have introduced period-specific policies include Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Zambia.

Currently, there are no plans for menstrual leave to be introduced in Ireland, however, recent research suggests that such policies would be welcome.

A recent study carried out by ActiveIron, an iron supplement company, surveyed 1,000 women aged between 25-45 across both Ireland and the UK, and determined these women’s attitudes towards period-related policies.

Of the women surveyed, 74% said that they “struggled to complete work due to period symptoms”, while “83% of women would like to see a policy put in place to allow for time off due to period symptoms”.

The study also shone a light on current attitudes towards period and period symptoms. For instance, 64% of the survey’s participants said that they have felt that their symptoms have been “disregarded”.

Additionally, the research demonstrated that women are currently taking sick leave in order to recover from pain, regardless of there being specific menstrual leave policies. 52% of those surveyed said that they have taken at least one to three days off work due to period symptoms over the past year. A further 17% said that they have taken five to seven days off work, and 5% said that they have taken between 8 and 14 days off.