Businesses continuing to ignore the issue of workplace policies linked to menstruation are more likely to see presenteeism and absenteeism among their workforce.

New research conducted by Yoppie, a company which provides personalised period care, illustrates the substantial costs which accompany a lack of workplace period policies.

In total, the research suggested this problem could be costing companies over £6 billion each year.

A study cited showed that women were losing up to 9.3 days annually as a result of menstruation-related symptoms, resulting in either presenteeism or absenteeism.

Specifically, only 0.9 days were linked to absenteeism – defined as absence from work or the failure to report or remain at work as scheduled.

However, presenteeism was shown to be rife among the workforce, leading to concerns that the stigma linked to these issues were preventing women from taking time off when they needed this.

As such, this accounted for the remaining 8.4 days – leading to many working days where staff were less productive and displayed much lower levels of employee engagement.

With the average woman in the UK earning around £80 each day, the research highlights that this could cost businesses £673 a year per female employee.

ONS figures have revealed that 71.6 per cent of UK women are in employment. This means over nine million women between the age of 16 to 45 could see their productivity impacted due to PMS.

On a national scale, this time lost to PMS equates to just over £6bn per year in equivalent earnings.

Daniella Peri, Founder of Yoppie, commented:

For far too long we’ve been campaigning for a change in attitudes to period-related issues within the workplace. Many women are made to feel that time off due to severe PMS symptoms simply isn’t acceptable and so they battle through cramps, sickness and fatigue to ensure they are provided with the same professional courtesy as their male counterparts.

The upshot is that this actually impacts their ability to perform more so than if they were afforded the appropriate level of flexibility and this is costing businesses a considerable amount in wages for time wasted in the workplace.

So if we can’t bring about change based on the welfare of female employees, maybe businesses will sit up and listen when they realise the cost they actually incur by ignoring the issue.

As such, Ms. Peri advises HR teams to adopt a workplace period policy to assist staff in this arena:

Implementing a basic period leave policy would not only allow them to factor in this additional cost from the start, but it would no doubt reduce it.

We’ve seen how the pandemic has reshaped the modern-day workplace and flexible working is no doubt here to stay. Allowing a degree of flexible working for those suffering from severe PMS symptoms could be a very real way of addressing period leave policies, as it would remove the pressures of the physical workplace while maintaining productivity and reducing the number of sick days taken.

*To obtain these results, Yoppie analysed a study found in the BMJ journals ‘Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: a nationwide cross-sectional survey among 32,748 women’.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.