Imagine a world where companies recognised the impact menstruating and menopause have on people who have female bodies. Well, Melbourne-based superannuation fund Future Super has turned this into a reality.
Last November, it introduced paid menstrual and menopause leave.
The fund, which began in 2014, offers superannuation services specialising in zero fossil fuel investment and ethical investment with an emphasis on clean energy projects.
Future Super’s latest policy seeks to change the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation and menopause by giving people who experience symptoms the choice to work from home and the possibility of taking paid leave.
Future Super’s chief operating officer Leigh Dunlop believes this policy acknowledges the impact that menstruating and menopause have on 50% of the population.
“The fact of the matter is women bleed regularly,” she said in a statement. “50 percent of the world’s population menstruate and 50 percent of our employees at Future Super are women.”
“It’s unfair women should have to dip into their personal or holiday leave to manage the regular symptoms of periods and menopause.”
Future Super says it recognises that menstrual and menopausal experiences can be debilitating, yet as a society, we have been indoctrinated to ignore their impacts.
The policy will be accessible for employees at Future Super who experience periods and menopause and aims to support employees in their ability to adequately self-care during menstrual periods and menopause, without having their personal leave unduly impacted.
Dunlop says the policy will help “normalise the processes women’s bodies go through.”
“That means removing the shame and stigma associated with menstruating and the menopause to support our employees to do their best work,” she said.
“Fighting for a future free from inequality starts from fighting from equality within our workplace and we hope other companies take inspiration from this.”
The superannuation fund partnered with Victorian Women’s Trust (VWT) to get this policy running.
The VWT provided a Menstrual Policy Template and educational resources that helped Future Super draft its Menstrual and Menopausal Guidelines.
The Menstrual and Menopausal Guidelines are a publicly accessible open source, which the fund wants other businesses and business leaders to access.
“In sharing these guidelines openly, Future Super invites other businesses to contribute any insights or questions, while also encouraging businesses to plagiarise as they wish,” the fund announced in a statement.
“Future Super believes that collaboration and cantor is key in effecting meaningful organisational change. This principle is how the idea was cultivated in the first place.”
The guidelines lay out a series of choices employees can take when they are experiencing symptoms of menstruation and menopause, including working from home, resting in a quiet area if they’re at the office, and taking paid leave.
When individuals choose to take leave, they are not required to show a medical certificate and are entitled to six paid days per calendar year.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.