This is a first in France: the Montpellier company La Collective, which specializes in recruiting donors for NGOs, allows its employees to take one day off per month in the event of painful periods. This menstrual leave, introduced since January 1, is fully paid for by the company. Any female staff member can benefit from it without a medical certificate. A simple email to the administrative director, including the same day, allows you to be absent. The company undertakes to respect the confidentiality of information and to pay this day as a classic, additional and optional leave; this absence is not considered as a work stoppage (unlike a sick leave).
For Dimitri Lamoureux, co-manager of the cooperative of thirty-seven employees, including sixteen women, this measure is "a social advance which echoes the rights of women in society". Stemming from a shared desire of the staff, the idea was first submitted to a general meeting by an employee: "It started with a joke between colleagues, but it is all the same a real problem. », Says Jessica. At the origin of the project, the employee first established an anonymous questionnaire which was circulated in the cooperative. Result: 89% of women (mostly posted outside) complained of having painful periods and admitted that it could interfere with their work.
The introduction of menstrual leave is now "a little pride" for Jessica and her team.
Because the measure was approved almost unanimously, both by women and men.
“We are all very enthusiastic,” confirms his colleague Thomas.
This measure is adapted to our outdoor activity and is based on trust.
I find it normal to take into consideration everyone's suffering at work, even if it is not mine ”.
Since its implementation, three and a half months ago, nine days of menstrual leave have been taken by staff.
A false good idea" ?
However, this measure is not unanimous everywhere. Some feminist associations even consider it counterproductive: "It's a false good idea, judge Céline Piques, spokesperson for Dare Feminism!" Because it's not normal to have pain during your period. Except for women who suffer from endometriosis and who, in this case, must be diagnosed and taken care of… But otherwise the rules are not incapacitating. Menstrual leave creates a form of stigmatization, by sending women back to their bodies, with all the stereotypes around periods… ”
An Ifop poll for 20 minutes and Eve and Co, published in March 2021, reveals that 68% of French women are in favor of menstrual leave.
The latter is already established (in various forms) in certain Asian countries: it was established in 1947 in Japan, then in 2001 in South Korea and Indonesia.
Closer to us, Italy authorizes the practice in certain companies, despite a bill that was debated and finally abandoned in 2017.
At university, menstrual insecurity at the heart of concerns
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The “experimental and innovative” agreement put in place by La Collective is concluded for a period of one year in order to then decide on its maintenance or possible adjustments. Despite a cost that is still difficult to quantify, Dimitri Lamoureux - who says he is "open to debates and attentive to all arguments" - is optimistic for the rest: "We are confident in our ability to assume and perpetuate menstrual leave. And even hope that this can eventually make a difference in the country. "