Channel 4 has introduced its first period policy to help staff manage their symptoms at work.
The broadcaster is offering employees free period products in its offices, working environment assessments, flexible working arrangements, a quiet room for time out when required, medical help such as complimentary hormone and fertility tests, and microwaveable wheat bags to ease pain. It is also providing access to a host of advice and support on the issue.
The policy was created by 4Womxn, Channel 4’s gender equality employee network, to help those experiencing period-related difficulties, including health issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.
Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “Most women will have 12 periods a year for 40 years. That is a huge amount of time, yet we don’t talk about women’s health much or what impact it might have on equity.
“Our new period policy builds on our suite of wellbeing support to help our staff to be the best version of themselves at work and is another step towards equity in the workplace.
“Designed by 4Womxn, we hope the policy ensures people suffering with period symptoms are empowered to get any health support they might need with zero embarrassment.”
The initiative, which is funded by Channel 4’s Equity and Inclusion team and employee networks, 4Earth, 4Pride, 4Purple, The Collective, 4Womxn, 4Parents & Carers, 4Mind, and The Shed, is open to the company’s current employees as well as new starters.
Channel 4 has also partnered with sustainable underwear retailer WUKA to give employees the chance to redeem a pair of free, reusable period pants. New starters will be able to claim the underwear as part of the onboarding process.
Mahon added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with a forward-thinking and innovative company such as WUKA, which shares our goal to normalise important conversations and stamp out unnecessary taboos around women’s health.”
To mark the launch, staff were invited to a panel discussion hosted by the company’s Equity and Inclusion team and WUKA to hear about a range of period experiences from a cross-section of people.
The latest policy follows Channel 4’s introduction of a menopause policy in 20219, carers’ policy in 2020 and pregnancy loss policy in 2021. In November 2022, the company teamed up with women’s health business Hertility to provide staff with access to an NHS-approved health assessment and blood test offering screening for health conditions and reproductive health issues, as well assessing the start of menopause.