Research by Yoppie, the pioneers of personalised period care, has revealed how a lack of workplace period policies could be costing businesses over £6bn a year, as the stigma surrounding days off due to PMS causes women to lose 8.4 days due to lower productivity in the workplace.
A nationwide obstetrics and gynaecology study into productivity loss due to menstrual-related symptoms found that on average, women lose 9.3 days a year due to menstruation-related symptoms.
Absenteeism due to PMS, the absence from work or failure to report or remain at work as scheduled, accounted for the loss of 0.9 days per year.
While the 0.9 days a year spent absent from the workplace will be often be covered by allocated sick leave, the stigma surrounding time off due to PMS is actually damaging businesses when it comes to productivity within them.
Presenteeism due to PMS, defined as sickness presence at work or the act of being at work but without being productive, accounts for a further 8.4 days lost in total throughout the year.
The average UK female earns £80 per day, that’s the equivalent of £673 in earnings paid for time lost to PMS.
With an estimated 71.6% of UK women in employment, that’s over 9m women between the age of 16 to 45 who could see their productivity impacted due to PMS.
On a national scale, this time lost to PMS equates to just over £6bn per year in equivalent earnings.
Founder of Yoppie, Daniella Peri, commented: ‘For far too long we’ve been campaigning for a change in attitudes to period-related issues within the workplace. Many women are made to feel that time off due to severe PMS symptoms simply isn’t acceptable, and so they battle through cramps, sickness and fatigue to ensure they are provided with the same professional courtesy as their male counterparts.
‘The upshot is that this actually impacts their ability to perform more so than if they were afforded the appropriate level of flexibility and this is costing businesses a considerable amount in wages for time wasted in the workplace.
‘So if we can’t bring about change based on the welfare of female employees, maybe businesses will sit up and listen when they realise the cost they actually incur by ignoring the issue.
‘Implementing a basic period leave policy would not only allow them to factor in this additional cost from the start, but it would no doubt reduce it.
‘We’ve seen how the pandemic has reshaped the modern-day workplace and flexible working is no doubt here to stay. Allowing a degree of flexible working for those suffering from severe PMS symptoms could be a very real way of addressing period leave policies, as it would remove the pressures of the physical workplace while maintaining productivity and reducing the number of sick days taken.’
Average days of absenteeism per year
Average days per year of lost productivity
|Source: BMJ Journals
|UK female employment rate (Q1, 2021)
|UK female population aged 16 to 45 (Latest est mid-2020)
|UK estimated female working population aged 16 to 45
Employment rate % applied to population segment
|Average female net salary per day
|Equivalent cost of presenteeism per woman
Average daily salary x 8.4
|Equivalent cost of presenteeism nationally
Equivalent cost of presenteeism per woman x UK female working population aged 16–45