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Period stigma costing UK business billions

A lack of period polices is costing UK businesses over £6 billion a year, as women still feel unable to discuss PMS in the workplace.

The stigma surrounding taking days off due to PMS has caused women to lose 8.4 days worth of work due to lower productivity in the workplace.

A nationwide study into productivity loss due to menstrual-related symptoms found on average, women lose 9.3 days a year due to menstruation-related symptoms.

Absenteeism due to PMS accounted for the loss of 0.9 days per year. 

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While the 0.9 days a year spent absent from the workplace will be often be covered by allocated sick leave, founder of period care provider Yoppie, Daniella Peri, said the stigma surrounding time off due to PMS is damaging businesses when it comes to productivity within them. 

She told HR magazine: “For far too long we’ve been campaigning for a change in attitudes to period-related issues within the workplace.

“Many women are made to feel that time off due to severe PMS symptoms simply isn’t acceptable and so they battle through cramps, sickness and fatigue to ensure they are provided with the same professional courtesy as their male counterparts.”

Presenteeism due to PMS accounted for a further 8.4 days lost in total throughout the year. 

The average UK female earns £80 per day, the equivalent of £673 in earnings paid for time lost to PMS. 

With an estimated 71.6% of UK women in employment, Yoppie estimated over nine million women between the age of 16 to 45 could see their productivity impacted due to PMS.

On a national scale, this time lost to PMS equates to just over £6 billion per year in equivalent earnings.

Peri said: “The upshot is that this actually impacts their ability to perform more so than if they were afforded the appropriate level of flexibility and this is costing businesses a considerable amount in wages for time wasted in the workplace. 

“So, if we can’t bring about change based on the welfare of female employees, maybe businesses will sit up and listen when they realise the cost, they actually incur by ignoring the issue.”

Peri said implementing a basic period leave policy would not only allow businesses to factor in this additional cost from the start, but it would no doubt reduce it.

“We’ve seen how the pandemic has reshaped the modern-day workplace and flexible working is no doubt here to stay.

“Allowing a degree of flexible working for those suffering from severe PMS symptoms could be a very real way of addressing period leave policies, as it would remove the pressures of the physical workplace while maintaining productivity and reducing the number of sick days taken,” she said.


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