International coffee shop and retail brand Starbucks has introduced a policy whereby its approximately 6,000 employees in the UK can access free menstrual products in the workplace.
Following feedback from the employer’s Women’s Impact Network, which formed part of the network’s wider approach to normalising periods and improving period dignity within the business, Starbucks committed to providing 100% organic tampons to its UK workforce.
The Women’s Impact Network was comprised of 140 employees, seven of whom spearheaded the initiative to provide tampons to UK members of staff.
Holly Clarke, chair of the Starbucks Women’s Impact Network EMEA, said: “The difference that providing free sanitary products can make to our partner’s experience at work is staggering, helping to improve accessibility for all and remove anxieties we know many people face around periods, especially when at work.”
Starbucks partnered with sustainable period care brand Time of the Month (TOTM), which has a mission to alleviate anxiety about working during menstrual periods. Research conducted by TOTM found that 80% of people with periods worry about them at work, while 76% found their period to be disruptive to their working day. Almost two-thirds (64%) said they would not feel comfortable talking about their period in work.
Clarke said: “We’d love to see others in the industry take a similar stance and work towards eradicating period poverty across the UK.”
Through TOTM’s workplace scheme, employers relate their period care needs – how many bathroom and employees need supplying – and the business will recommend how many boxes will be needed and at what frequency, and organise delivery.
Ruby Parmar, chair of TOTM, said: “We’re so excited to be partnering with Starbucks, a move that supports our mission to champion menstrual wellbeing, comfort and dignity.
For every workplace box sold, TOTM donates 10p to charity organisation Endometriosis UK. The provider also offers virtual talks and events for employees, as well as discounts on period care outside of work.
Parmar added: “A crucial part of what we do, TOTM’s Workplace Scheme has been helping businesses offer employees ethical and sustainable period care for three years. We really hope this move by Starbucks will inspire other companies to be bold and do the same.”
According to Starbucks, the launch of the scheme formed part of its wider approach to employee wellbeing. In 2020, it launched mental wellbeing app Headspace for its almost 300,000 employees on a global scale. It also provides UK employees with free food and drink, free packaged coffee, and in-store discounts, as well as helping with university fees and interest-free loans for both a day-to-day and larger impact on financial wellbeing.