Channel 4 has launched a new period policy including flexible working, free sanitary products in offices and free hormone tests.
The policy is designed to help employees who are experiencing difficulties with their period and will support those with health conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), to get the support they need to manage their symptoms at work.
The initiative will give employees access to flexible working arrangements, a working environment assessment and free period products in all offices.
Channel 4 will also provide a quiet room to take time out if needed. Medical support, including free hormone and fertility tests provided by women’s health company, Hertility, will also be available.
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Ali Hutcheson, people manager at Hertility, said the policy is a step towards breaking down period-related taboos and providing appropriate healthcare for women in the workplace.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “The workplace wasn’t designed with women in mind. Periods can last between two and seven days and their symptoms can vary.
“With over 89% of women experiencing anxiety and stress in the workplace that is directly related to their period, it makes sense to provide a period policy in order to support those who need it.”
The policy will also help reduce period-related presenteeism, she said.
She added: “Menstruation-related symptoms have the potential to lead to absenteeism and an average of 8.9 days of total lost productivity per year due to presenteeism.
“Workplaces that prioritise flexibility and a proactive approach to getting to the bottom of troublesome symptoms will be leading the way in terms of employee satisfaction, retention and recruitment.”
Alison Wilde, co-founder of people transformation consultancy Birdsoup, described the policy as a win-win for employers and employees.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “When employees feel reassured that their experiences are valid and understood it drives conversation and inclusion at work. Ultimately, this will lead to less time out of work and will drive higher productivity as a result.”
Consistent action and communication will be crucial to make the policy effective, Wilde added.
She said: “Action speaks louder than words and that is what we need to see here. We need to be mindful of femwashing; a policy without true adoption is just a document.”