The vast majority of Irish women would support menstrual leave, according to trade union Fórsa.
On Tuesday, Spain became the first country in the EU to approve legislation that would grant leave for women experiencing severe period pain.
Over 96% of the 1,800 survey respondents favoured the introduction of a menstrual-friendly policy in their workplace.
The union says women would welcome measures like access to flexible work arrangements, improved training for supervisors and line managers, action to address deep-seated stigma, and practical improvements in toilet facilities, office fabrics, and temperature control for those who experience hot flushes or other menopausal symptoms.
Equality Officer with Fórsa, Ashley Connolly, says introducing hybrid working hours is just one way of supporting women in the workplace:
“Remote working and other flexible work arrangements are key to a healthier, happier and more productive working life for many, many women. And it has broader consequences for the way sick leave is consumed by thousands of women across the country. This conversation needs to start, and we need to deliver results for women quickly,” she said.
A motion, which will call on employers to do more to address stigma and other issues around menstrual health through “period- and menopause-friendly policies” in workplaces across the economy, will be adopted at the union’s national conference in Killarney on Friday.
The motion on menstrual health was proposed by Fórsa’s Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Branch, which has pioneered local employee surveys on the subject.
Branch secretary Roisin Cronin said Fórsa’s national survey provided a rich insight into the difficulties and predicaments that women currently face because of menstruation and menopause.
“We began discussing how much easier it was to manage some of our symptoms at home, when faced with difficult periods, menstrual health conditions and the effects of menopause. Not having to worry about finding an individual clean toilet or a private place to wash a menstrual cup was just a massive relief for so many. If working from home during the pandemic made such a positive difference, it seemed obvious that the issue was not being properly addressed in the workplace,” she said.