This British Company Will Soon Allow Female Employees To Take Days Off For Period Pains

It's a controversial policy.

For many women, menstruating is no small matter. The monthly hormonal changes have wide-ranging effects on the mind and body — from breaking out to feeling moody to pains that can sometimes feel like a heart attack. Amid increased research on the matter, there have been calls to take period pains more seriously, and one company is doing just that. Bristol-based CoExist has a "period policy" in the works, which will give the British company's female employees days off for period pains that won't be considered a regular sick day.

The goal is to challenge the stigma of menstruation and its side effects, and to acknowledge the very real physical issues that women face on their periods, Coexist director Bex Baxter told The Guardian. Baxter said that she has seen her female colleagues suffer by having to come into work despite debilitating cramps. The company has a female-dominated workforce; out of 34 members of the staff, 21 are women. 

"They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it," she added. "It started from there and we thought we had to see what we could do about it and try and break the last great taboo."

Such "period policies" — which Nike has, too — are a controversial topic that has seen pushback from both men and women for different reasons

But Baxter said that CoExist intends to encourage women to work according to their natural biological rhythms. "It's not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves," she told The Guardian. "If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that's got to be good for business."

Cover image via Irina Bg /