Iris has unveiled a new global period policy to support its female employees.
The creative marketing agency is expanding company-paid sick leave to cover symptoms such as severe period pain. The initiative enables staff to take paid time off when needed, in addition to other sick leave entitlements, so that it includes symptoms that make it difficult for individuals to work.
The company, which has 1,000 employees in 15 locations worldwide, intends to build a “period-friendly office” in partnership with Fertility Matters at Work, which includes supplying free menstrual products in all its bathrooms and educating staff about menstruation to better support their teams.
Harriet Shurville, global chief people officer at Iris, said: “Periods are something that most women have, most months, and for some can be extremely painful and affect the day-to-day functioning. Those who experience periods have learned to manage them in secret and not discuss any of the very real, and sometimes, serious symptoms that accompany them.
“While on their period, some will be able to carry on as normal, however, we recognise that periods can seriously impact someone’s daily life, including their work life, and want to ensure we are filling gaps in the support we can provide our people at Iris.”
The policy aims to “ensure employees feel confident to communicate with management and colleagues on how their periods may be affecting their work”. This will enable the right support and adjustments to be made to schedules, for example, a change or reduction in working hours, encouraging frequent breaks and blocking out time in the diary during the working day so that no meetings are arranged during that period.
This new initiative is the latest that has been launched in the company’s third year of committing to normalising discussions that impact women at work. It has also introduced support for those experiencing fertility and menopause issues.