near Toulouse, a company introduces menstrual leave for its employees

The company Louis, which designs and produces wooden office furniture for companies, since March 8, 2022 allows its employees to benefit from one day off a month in case of painful periods.

Employees of the Louis Company are entitled to one day off per month when they have their periods (illustration). © Maxppp / Annette Riedl/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

It’s an idea that is slowly making its way into the world of work. More and more companies are thinking about creating menstrual leave for women suffering from painful periods. In France, this device was first launched last year by a company from Montpellier. He has already been imitated for two months by a Toulouse start-up.

Specialized in the manufacture of wooden furniture, the company Louis, in Labège, gives employees the opportunity to benefit fromone extra day off per monthif they feel the need when they are menstruating.

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“Many good reasons”

In the middle of the woodworking shop, Margot is busy at her workbench. “We have a multi-office order for a large client,” explains the 23-year-old. A physical job that particularly requires lifting”trays of about 12 kilos. If you load a hundred planks in a day, that means you’ve lifted over a ton of wood.” A substantial effort that becomes even more important on days when Margot is on her period. “Yes, it is true that when we menstruate we are weaker, we have much less strength and efficiency does not exist.”

And this is even more true when periods are painful. At this young start-up, which has 17 employees, including eight women, the idea of ​​setting up menstrual leave quickly became obvious. But after receiving the green light from the direction, we had to convince colleagues. Manu, a cabinetmaker and employee representative, worked on it. “We organized a kind of small meeting during which we made a presentation about the rules to make them understand that it wasn’t just a whim and that there were many good reasons that justified this measure“, he explains.

“It struck me as strange that companies hadn’t thought of this before.”

Convinced, the men of the company ratified the agreement without difficulty. “It’s not something I’ve thought of myself, but when we started talking about it, I immediately found it natural and it felt strange to me that companies hadn’t thought of this before,” says Gaël, responsible for finishing in the workshop. Machine operator, Jean-Baptiste believes, in turn, that he does not feel wronged, on the contrary: “I don’t have physical problems every month that prevent me from working so, in terms of fairness, I think it’s normal that they can rest if they need to.”

For Margot and her colleagues, it’s much more comfortable. “Having this menstrual license reassures us. She tells us that we can go home and rest if we can no longer work or carry heavy loads. And then it’s good psychologically to tell yourself that you have the support of bosses and colleagues.”

A device that inspires other companies

“The device works very well”, guarantees Clotilde Soulé, production manager. “It’s a right, not an obligation.if they don’t want to talk, if they don’t want to take that day off, it’s whatever they want”, specifies this start-up executive, whose average age of employees is around 25 years old. According to Clotilde Soulé, “It’s not normal for a woman with painful menstruation to have to take paid time off because she’s not well when it’s something that recurs, happens every month, and can’t be controlled.”

On the management side, we don’t see this as an additional burden. “For us, it’s not a sacrifice.”notes Thomas Devineaux is the founder of the company. “It never occurred to us to ask how much it costs. To be honest, we didn’t even try to do the math. The idea is really to make sure you work in the best possible conditions. improving well-being within the company.”

In Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux, several companies have expressed their interest and are now asking this Toulouse start-up for advice to eventually establish a similar model.

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