Beauty therapist launches campaign for Menstrual Bill
Beauty therapist Abi Oleck has launched a change.org petition to ask the Government to debate a Menstrual Bill, which would offer support to workers who suffer from severe period pain.
Oleck, who is the owner of BeauSkin London and the BeauBronz tanning brand, suffers from extreme period pain and issues including fibroids.
Her chronically heavy and painful periods mean that she loses around 25% of her income as a self-employed therapist every month because she is unable to work, despite being on prescription painkillers.
This impact on Oleck’s income has led to her needing to apply for Universal Credit, and she has made the difficult decision to have a full hysterectomy.
Severe period pain can have a significant effect on the UK's workforce. A survey of 2,000 women conducted by healthcare provider Bupa in 2017 found that 23% had taken time off work because of their period in the last six months, with 36% not feeling comfortable talking about why they were unable to work.
Nearly half of the women surveyed (46%) admitted they weren’t comfortable talking about their period as a reason for needing time off work.
Despite her decision to have a hysterectomy to relieve her own symptoms, Oleck is determined to help other women in a similar position by starting a petition to the Government to support workers who suffer from extremely painful periods.
In May 2022, Spain approved a draft bill which proposes giving workers who suffer from severe period pain three days of optional medical leave a month, with two additional days permitted in exceptional cases.
If this legislation is approved, then Spain will become the first country in Europe to allow workers to take menstrual leave. Menstrual leave is already offered in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Zambia and Indonesia.
Oleck hopes that her petition to the Government will encourage them to consider a Menstrual Bill in the UK.
She says, “No person should have the mentally crippling stress of not feeling supported, have to explain to an employer their painful story, suffer the embarrassment in a non-open communication environment or feel uncomfortable and have to carry the full financial burden themselves. We need the Menstrual Bill here in the UK.”
Find out more about Oleck’s story and petition here.
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Do you think the Government should provide support for workers in this situation? Let us know in the comments…