- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A British company said it plans to institute an official “period policy” that would allow menstruating employees to take paid leave.

Company director Bex Baxter at the social community group Coexist, which manages Hamilton House in Bristol’s bohemian Stokes Croft quarter, said the move is an attempt to synchronize work productivity with the body’s natural cycles, The Guardian reported.

“I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell,” Ms. Baxter said.

“And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain — no matter what kind — they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognizes and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness,” she told The Guardian.

Coexist plans to formulate the policy as part of a seminar at Hamilton House on March 15. The seminar’s leader, Alexandra Pope, argued that “cycle awareness” helps both men and women become more productive at work.

“In the past any proposal to allow women to, for example, have time off at menstruation has been derided by men and women alike. In this context menstruation is seen as a liability or a problem. Or as women getting special treatment,” Ms. Pope told The Guardian.

“The purpose of this policy initiative is to create a positive approach to menstruation and the menstrual cycle that empowers women and men and supports the effectiveness and well-being of the organization. To restore the menstrual cycle as the asset it is,” she said.

Ms. Baxter added: “It’s not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves. If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that’s got to be good for business.”

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