Thomas Devineaux remembers this production manager, who came to work but “literally exhausted” after two hours: “For a woman cabinetmaker who is menstruating, it’s very difficult to stay up for seven hours carrying 15-kilo trays”recognizes the CEO of Louis Design.
This observation convinced the boss of this small eco-responsible furniture company to look into a subject that is still taboo in the company: menstruation. A banal period, since it comes up every month in the life of the majority of active women, but which is accompanied by sometimes disabling pain.
While Spain is preparing a law to establish menstrual leave paid for by the State, Louis Design is one of the few French companies to have taken the lead. On the suggestion of one of its collaborators, the start-up of about twenty employees offers, since March 8, to its employees who know painful periods the possibility of taking one day off per month, financially taken covered by the company and without medical proof. Those who work in the office also have the possibility of setting up a day of teleworking.
“Raise the taboo”
Like premenstrual syndrome, pain during menstruation remains a phenomenon vastly understudied. According to a Ifop poll for Intimina, nearly one in two women questioned said they suffered from it.
So rare are the French companies to have considered the subject, rare are also the employees who dare to approach it in the office, notes the sociologist at the University of Geneva Aline Boeuf, within the framework of her research on the experience menstruation in the professional world: ” The female body has long been considered illegitimate in the world of work. By saying that she is tired because she has her period, the employee is afraid to validate this cliché. »
Among the men interviewed for this article, the subject elicits controversial reactions. In what way would a woman be entitled to a ” day off ” more than a man? Can’t she ” refrain ” to have her period? Couldn’t she just “to heal”? In the minds of some employees, the functioning of the female body is clearly shrouded in received ideas. “Talking about it is a first step; we must lift the taboo”defends Thomas Devineaux.
At Louis Design, the establishment of menstrual leave is also based on a pragmatic observation: “An employee who is too sick to work inevitably has an impact on our entire organization. Giving employees the possibility of taking a day off for menstruation in advance allows us to adapt the production schedule. »
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