And read­ers an­swer your ques­tions

At work last month I was in a great deal of pain from my pe­riod, a prob­lem I’ve had for some years. When my (fe­male) boss saw how un­well I was, she kindly sug­gested I go home. But why didn’t I just say ‘I have bad pe­riod pains’? I know it’s be­cause I don

The Guardian - G2 - - News - In it to­gether Poppy Noor slaf­ferty an­chi1 mrstout nu­li­a­juk

Some­thing hap­pens to you once a month that is painful and out of your con­trol. You are not alone. In 2016, YouGov asked 940 women about their ex­pe­ri­ences of pe­riod pain in the work­place; 57% said it had af­fected their work. And yet, you feel you will be seen as weak or un­re­li­able if you tell some­one about it. Your fears aren’t un­founded: a number of stud­ies show that women’s pain is rou­tinely dis­missed by health pro­fes­sion­als. And other women seem to share your con­cern. YouGov found that only 27% of women af­fected by pe­riod pains told their boss and many of them (33%) pre­tended, as you did, that it was some­thing else af­fect­ing their work.

The ques­tion about your rights is a tricky one. You are en­ti­tled to statu­tory sick leave, and you could get a note from your doc­tor ex­plain­ing that you are af­fected for a day or two each month. But just be­cause you are en­ti­tled to some­thing doesn’t mean your boss won’t judge you.

Don’t fall into the trap of be­liev­ing you are be­ing un­rea­son­able, ei­ther. As Mandu Reid, CEO of the Cup Ef­fect, an or­gan­i­sa­tion try­ing to com­bat pe­riod shame, says: “Hav­ing to go home for your pe­riod isn’t re­ally any dif­fer­ent from hav­ing to go home be­cause of a headache – we shouldn’t have to fetishise it.” Of course, you’ll have to get your em­ployer to see that first. Could you push for that to be­come a re­al­ity, for ex­am­ple by ar­gu­ing for a re­spon­si­ble pe­riod pol­icy at your place of work?

The fight is not yours alone, says Reid: “A di­a­logue is needed to cre­ate a fu­ture where fewer peo­ple en­counter this dilemma. Those of us who don’t have pe­riod pains [or pe­ri­ods at all] should carry the bur­den as well.”

Help the man­ager to man­age

As a man­ager in this sort of sit­u­a­tion, I have two con­flict­ing things in mind. One is that I want my staff to feel sup­ported as part of be­ing a good em­ployer. It is much bet­ter all round if peo­ple don’t drag them­selves into work when they are not fit. On the other hand, some peo­ple do take ad­van­tage, which is un­fair to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and to other staff. Work­ing out which is which is partly about re­la­tion­ships and trust, and partly about for­mal pro­ce­dures. So what­ever you do, please don’t lie about it. You are likely to get caught out sooner or later, par­tic­u­larly as this is an on­go­ing con­di­tion. Then all trust is lost. That is not to say you need to go into de­tail, though I would hope pe­ri­ods are not too em­bar­rass­ing to men­tion these days; but if you need to go for a eu­phemism, do it. It does sound like a con­di­tion for which you could get a fit note, as sick notes are called these days. This helps you pro­tect your­self, but also helps the man­ager deal with the sit­u­a­tion, hope­fully sym­pa­thet­i­cally. Quak­erAc­tivist

Ask to work from home

I would sug­gest sim­ply say­ing you are not feel­ing well, need to be at home and would pre­fer not to dis­close your con­di­tion. Ex­plain that be­ing at home will give you the flex­i­bil­ity to work off and on as your ill­ness al­lows. Also give as­sur­ances that you are com­mit­ted to get­ting im­por­tant work done and, if nec­es­sary, agree to ad­just dead­lines. The de­tails of your ail­ment are not your em­ployer’s busi­ness.

Just tell your boss

I’ve suf­fered from ex­treme pe­riod pain all my life and I find it eas­ier to just tell my boss about it. I’m lucky to have a job where the boss is both fe­male and rea­son­able. I’m also lucky to have worked at the same place for over a decade and have a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-work­ing em­ployee.

You are en­ti­tled to pri­vacy

No. Your bod­ily func­tions are none of their damn busi­ness! It is over­step­ping the mark of nor­mal de­cency to de­mand to know about the in­ner work­ings of the staff. This prob­lem demon­strates how nor­malised the pop­u­la­tion is to busi­nesses’ in­ter­fer­ence in pri­vate af­fairs.

Have you had a health check?

If you haven’t al­ready been checked for en­dometrio­sis, do so. There’s no need to go through this agony ev­ery month; it’s def­i­nitely not nor­mal. I re­mem­ber feel­ing a dull ache and hav­ing flu-like symp­toms ev­ery month for a day or two, but noth­ing so bad I had to take off work. Now (too late) I’ve found out that even that much discomfort can be caused by cal­cium or mag­ne­sium de­fi­cien­cies.

What can or­di­nary peo­ple do if they see po­lice of­fi­cers mov­ing home­less peo­ple on?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.