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Employment law & healthcare: The menstrual leave

Talent Berlin & the new policy

As part of my responsibility to my team, I want to raise awareness of implementing an equitable work culture. Keeping up with the expansion of Talent Berlin, I decided to implement a menstrual leave policy into our business as my team consists of 80% females. One of my priorities as Regional Sales Manager is the well-being and comfort of my teammates – I want to maintain the mental and physical health conditions which are required for a comfortable work environment and good work results.

It’s essential to implement new policies for a new work culture driven by diversity, equity and inclusion and to take other leading companies as a great example for adjusting to modern society. If you want to support this movement, here’s what helped me to bring the idea to life at Talent.

According to Forbes, in 2020, the fastest food delivery company in India, Zomato, announced a new policy for menstruation leave. In this case, all female and transgender employees are permitted to take 10 days off per year as menstrual leave – an inspiring move.

Menstrual leave is still controversial in the business environment, but companies that believe in diversity, and inclusion need to acknowledge menstruation as a natural phenomenon. Taking care of the different biological realities and needs people have is long overdue.

Why distinguish between menstrual leave and sick leave? 

Menstruation is still a taboo, but talking openly about such topics can help them become normalised. By introducing this policy for my team, it will be treated as natural phenomenon rather than a sickness which encourages everyone not to hide it at work and to treat everyone’s needs casually.

The psychological comfort of allowing menstruating people to spend the day at home when their period is causing them pain can in turn result in better work performances and an equal balance of health and productivity.

Does menstrual leave contribute to a special treatment for women?   

There are, of course, opponents to this policy. Detractors argue that it could reflect and contribute to discriminatory practices against women in the workforce, saying that the policy is patronising and paints women as “weak, hormonally-addled creatures controlled by their uteri”. Others claim that it provides an advantage for female employees over people who don’t menstruate.

Forbe’s article quotes the CEO and Co-Founder of Saalt, a women’s health company: “It comes down to the difference between equity and equality. Equality would say that affording a benefit to one group that is not provided to another is not fair. Equity, in turn, supports employees where they need support in the workplace.”

In this case, the implementation of menstrual leave refers to equity – because all employees should have the same right to a healthy life balance. Most of the workforces, work environments, and policies are built for the biological realities of males. This policy simply supports the nature of female bodies and businesses should focus on embedding it for the sake of modern culture, and an increasing number of businesses are now considering implementing menstrual leave policies.

Women in tech – are we there yet? 

Levelling the playing field for women in tech is something we are incredible passionate about at Talent, and we recently hosted an event for women in tech with a difference. Through this event, we captured first-hand experiences from women around the roadblocks that they continue to face in the tech sector.

We gathered this data from 400 participants into a new report: “Women in Tech – Are We There Yet?”, a global report on the challenges and opportunities for women across the globe. It includes fast facts, real-world stories, and changes companies can make to build and nurture a more equitable tech team. Download it here, and for more information on Talent's activities and successes in Germany, please visit: https://talentinternational.de