A Canadian period product company is offering unlimited paid days off, and employees can use it to take time off when they are menstruating.
The founder of nixit, Rachael Newton, said that offering this to her employees is a “no-brainer” for her and her small staff of 10. Nixit is a menstrual cup company that is based in Toronto and made in Canada. Their menstrual cup uses the body’s shape to stay in place instead of suction like other menstrual cup brands.
Coming from a corporate background as a lawyer with an investment bank in the UK, period-talk was taboo in the office.
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“Periods have historically been stigmatized in the workplace, at home, and in public spaces. One of our main goals at nixit is tearing down the taboo and making people feel comfortable talking about this very normal human experience,” Newton told Daily Hive in an email.
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This policy allows for nixit staff to take the time they need when they need it. Menstrual symptoms can be debilitating, and this gives employees an easy way to rest as needed.
“Since nixit’s inception, it has been a no-brainer to provide my employees with the agency to take care of themselves when necessary — be it for their menstrual, mental, or physical health. Having menstrual symptoms can be just as debilitating as having the flu!” she said.
Employees at nixit don’t need to provide proof of illness to take time off. Newton said this gives employees agency to do what they need to take care of themselves, especially as menstrual symptoms can be unpredictable.
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When asked about how important this was for her and her staff, she said it was not about importance.
“It is a basic necessity everyone should have access to,” Newton said.
Newton hopes that providing this time off to employees helps destigmatize and alleviate the shame associated with menstruation.
“Around the world, 1.8 billion girls, women, trans men, genderfluid, intersex and non-binary people experience periods regularly — yet, we have been socially conditioned to feel shame about it,” she said. “Having a comprehensive approach to our sick day policy that includes menstruation helps us recognize menstruation as an everyday health issue. It’s a push towards normalizing conversations about periods, and by doing so, we can foster healthier relationships with our bodies.”
Diva Cup, another Canadian menstrual cup company, also offers employees paid menstrual leave for up to 12 days of the year. Whether this trend will catch on among other companies and industries is yet to be seen, but Newton said seeing a larger company like Diva Cup provide their employees with paid menstrual leave is a step in the right direction.
“It’s a big win to see menstrual-focused policies penetrating larger companies, like Diva. However, we’d love to see similar practices across industries,” she said. “Currently, many company health policies are built around very traditional and frankly, outdated ideals. Companies with employees who menstruate should be providing adequate health support.”