One company has laid out a sweeping plan to end gender inequality in the workplace, but not everyone agrees it’s fair.
Some Australian companies are offering their employees paid time off for painful periods or menopause in an effort to end gender inequalities in the workplace.
Khaila Prasser, who works in HR at Future Super, is one of the first women to benefit from politics.
In January of this year, the retail pension company began offering six days of menstrual or menopausal leave per year for its women, along with regular sick leave and annual leave on top of that.
Working on a project with two male colleagues, Ms. Prasser’s period cramps became bothersome and so she took the rest of the day.
“I had never worked closely with them (the two colleagues) before,” she told news.com.au.
“One of these days we had a lot of work to do, I ended up having the worst period pain.
“I told them, ‘I’m taking my period, I’ll be back tomorrow.’ It was awesome. ”
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Ms. Prasser, 30, has had a painful period most of her life.
She often lied to teachers, lecturers, and bosses whenever she needed to take time for her period, saying she was sick.
It is “liberating” to be able to speak the truth, she says.
“(You’re) not supposed to talk about (the rules) at school. You walk into the workplace and you’re not supposed to mention it.
“It’s not very worthy to have to lie.”
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Ms. Prasser was part of the team that devised Future Super’s “Bloody Good Policy,” loosely based on the same policy of the Victorian Women’s Trust, which granted employees period leave in 2017.
Future Super made their policy available on a Google document, which can be viewed by anyone, so any business can follow in their footsteps.
Since the introduction of periodic leave in January, approximately 22 percent of employees have used it.
Future Super has 60 employees, approximately half of whom are women.
Experts consider Australia to be the world leader in terms of menstrual and menopausal leave.
But not everyone thinks it’s a good thing.
Professor Marian Baird of the University of Sydney’s Business School said it remains to be seen whether the policy is a step forward or backward for gender equality.
“On the one hand, some well-known feminists oppose it because it creates another potential reason for employers not to employ women,” she told news.com.au.
“On the other hand, it’s increasingly clear that… it’s good not only for women, but also for productivity.”
Professor Baird says that after years of trying to ensure that women are treated the same as their male counterparts, period leave “makes a difference.”
“I would be cautious of policies that might give employers reasons not to employ women, knowingly or unknowingly,” she said.
However, she also pointed out that when maternity and paternity leave were first introduced, people opposed it.
Only time will tell how the period goes.
Most workers do not take enough leave, especially new fathers who are entitled to paternity leave.
Professor Baird attributed this to “stigma” because taking time off is often seen as a lazy worker.
“Very few people mine their leaves, we know that in the data itself,” she said.
She expects the same to happen among female colleagues who are entitled to menstrual leave.
“I think we’re on the verge of a change; it’s a generational change, ”said Professor Baird.
“Younger women are much more open about what’s going on in their bodies. This taboo is disappearing.
Indeed, Ms. Prasser has noticed a change at Future Super since the introduction of menstrual leave.
A worker was absent and changed her work status to a notepad emoji, signaling to her co-workers that she was on menstrual leave.
“I don’t think it’s the woman who should be feeling embarrassed about this,” Ms. Prasser said.