As we all know, Menstruation is a high normal phenomenon in women. Be it in the workplace or a personal environment, considering periods taboo is no more correct. We live in a world where every second woman today is working. Therefore, it is essential and a must for both men and women to create an environment where no woman hesitates to take a leave because of period pain or period cramps. Unfortunately, period pains often get severe or hit their peak when women are on the first or the second day of their monthly cycle. It makes them want to rest or take a day off from work. While we understand that having a conversation at work about taking sick leave due to periods can be difficult and awkward, it is time all women step up and change the dynamics. Here is the guide for What to say when calling in sick because of periods?
We cannot precisely tell you word to word what to say to your boss or manager when you are in this situation and want to take sick leave or a few days off. We can help you with a few tips and suggestions that will make this conversation not only easier to have but will also prepare you well in advance. Keep in mind that it is the right of women to voice out their opinions on this plan and fight for themselves. Here are a few pointers that you can follow and ensure are in place before or during the conversion with the individual concerned –
- Do not Hesitate and Be Clear
You are the one supporting the cause, and if you are hesitant, it will show otherwise. Have clarity on what you are going to say, and for the first time, try and choose your words wisely. Try not to be vague even though you do not have to prepare and rehearse what you are going to say; the state only facts and make sure that you have evidence to back your case up.
- Make sure the Setting is Right.
It is difficult in a workplace to find a location that is free of people and not noisy. So even if you call in sick, make sure your boss is free and has time to spare. Sometimes, suppose you are too nervous or still unsure about what direction the conversation may go. In that case, it is alright to take a friend/colleague along with you.
- Be Ready to Offer Solutions
Often, especially if the boss is male, he may be out of words or not know what to say or the solutions to offer. While he may want to help you through your period, he may not know how to make you feel better. The best way to go about this is to state your problem and give a solution in the same sentence.
- Be Positive and Keep Emotions out of the Way
This is one of the most important yet challenging tasks. Keep control of your emotions at all times, mainly because your feelings may be at a peak, and hormones may not be in place during periods. If needed, take some time to compose yourself and clear your thoughts.
- Let the Boss Pitch In, Give Opinions, and Ask Questions
It cannot be easy to wrap this topic up within just a few minutes. However, most good bosses want to have a proper conversation with you and understand how you feel and what they can do to make work easier for you during the menstrual cycle. While this reason entirely concerns you, try to make this a two-way conversation and consider the managers’ opinions. However, this does not mean that you have to answer any personal questions too.
How can we create a work environment that is menstrual friendly?
It is the 21st century and probably the best time to break the taboo surrounding periods and the debate whether it is justified for women to take sick leaves during their menstrual cycle. More than 50% of the population in the United States is women, and hence experiences period. As a company founder, manager, or boss, the least you can do is create the kind of workspace that tells women not to think twice before coming to you on a period-related concern. When it comes to designing and setting up the physical workplace, some suggestions can be considered and worked with accordingly. While these are just broad, you can also have a board meeting and welcome inputs from anyone who may have any.
- Decor – This may come as a surprise to you, but most women are scared of sitting on white and highly bright surfaces during their menstrual cycle. During the first few days of their period, the blood flow is so heavy that it can stain. Make sure the decor for your office has dark fabrics and firm furniture.
- Healthcare – While you may offer medical benefits, try to have an on-call doctor or a small clinic on the office premises. This will not only make women realize that you are against the taboo, but it may also increase their overall productivity in the office. It will help the women seek medicines when in need and also improve their well-being.
- Facilities – Every company should keep an extra set of sanitary napkins for women in the office washrooms. The access to toilets should be easy and not too far from the place of work. Make sure the bathrooms are spacious and also have dustbins inside.
- Uniforms – Firstly, try and build lockers in your office so that it is convenient for women to carry any equipment they may need. While it is on you to decide the kind of uniform, make sure the cloth is of dark fabric, comfortable, and easily breathable.
The menstrual cycle is a physiological medical process, and none of your efforts or anything you do can put a stop to it. Just because it is only one gender who has to go through it every month does not mean their condition and mental health do not deserve the right to take leave. For both men and women, it is now time to reflect and spend more time thinking about this plan and coming to a conclusion about which side you are on. To reiterate, when the need arises, you need to call in sick to your boss. Keep your chin up, ooze confidence, and show no hesitation in giving your reason for sickness.
Frequently Asked Questions
- If I have a male boss, should I request for a female superior to have this conversation?
No. This is the wrong way to approach this situation. It is secondary to ask for sick leave due to periods. Our primary goal is to make sure that we, as women ourselves, do not hesitate or treat this situation as extraordinary. There is a dire need to normalize menstrual leaves. This will not be possible if we treat this situation as different and not usual ourselves.
- What lifestyle changes can I make not to have to take a leave from the office during every monthly cycle?
We understand that it becomes more of a task to ask for a month’s leave when you are down with pain and cramps. However, you should check yourself and ensure that you do not take advantage of menstrual leaves and not turn into a habit each time you have periods. Routine changes in your life, like exercising, drinking lots of water and fluids, resting well, and getting sufficient sleep, are a few steps you can take to minimize period pains.
- Is it reasonable to take a leave solely because of period pain and cramps?
Yes. If you are in pain, it will anyway hamper your ability to work well. Instead of pushing yourself to work and not succeeding, it is better to leave and work a few extra hours when you are okay and back at work.
- Are there any companies that currently offer menstrual leave to their women employees?
Yes. A few companies have recently started giving recognition to menstrual pains and have offered leaves to the women force of the company. Zomato, Gozoop (a newly developed start-up), Tata Steel are some examples.
- Is it normal to talk and discuss your period in public?
Yes, it is 100% normal. This is the kind of practice that is encouraged these days. It is not just for women, but it is time for even men to candidly discuss periods in public to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere for all.