A bill newly proposed in Spain could make it the first European country to offer paid leave for workers experiencing severe menstrual pain diagnosed by a doctor. Spain would join just a handful of other countries with similar leave policies, including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Zambia.
We wanted to find out how employees in the United States would feel about such a policy, if they would take advantage of it if given the opportunity, and whether or not it would affect their decision to apply to work for a company.
- 78% of workers support paid menstrual leave, with nearly identical percentages of men and women
- 79% of women under age 45 would be likely to use such a policy
- Younger workers support this policy more than older workers
Across Demographics, Support for Menstrual Leave is Strong Among Workers
Across a wide spread of demographics including age, gender, employment industry, political affiliation, and employee role, nearly four out of five workers in the U.S. say they would be likely or very likely to support a paid menstrual leave policy at their workplace.
When respondents were asked why they would choose to support such a policy, the top three answers given were that paid period leave would help employees be more physically healthy, mentally healthy, and productive at work. Additionally, and regardless of gender, 55% of total respondents say they would be somewhat or much more likely to apply to a job that offers paid menstrual leave.
Men and Women Equally Supportive of Paid Menstrual Leave
Support for this policy between survey participants who identified as male and survey participants who identified as female was nearly identical, with 78% of both groups stating they would be likely or very likely to support paid menstrual leave.
Older Workers Less Likely to Support Menstrual Leave Than Young Workers
Another commonality between survey participants identifying as male and survey participants identifying as female is that older respondents (age 35 and up) in both groups showed less willingness to support paid menstrual leave than younger respondents (age 16-34). 25% of older men would not support this policy vs 16% of young men.
Similarly, 26% of older women would not support menstrual leave vs 16% of young women. Write-in comments from this demographic included sentiments such as “I worked when I was on my period. Take some painkillers and deal with it. Or take a day off.”
79% of Women Would Personally Take Menstrual Leave if Offered
Among survey respondents identifying as women and under age 45, 29% say they would be likely to take paid menstrual leave if offered while an additional 50% say they would be very likely to make use of such a policy. When asked for their reasoning for taking menstrual leave, the top answers were to avoid feeling physically and mentally unwell at work.
Write-in responses in this category included statements such as, “So I’m not suffering at work” and “It can be very uncomfortable sometimes. And having people rely on you when you feel unwell is sucky.”
Of the 21% of women under age 45 who say they would be unlikely or very unlikely to take paid menstrual leave, 22% say they would be too embarrassed to tell their employer, 11% would be too embarrassed if their coworkers found out, 19% would worry about sexist behavior or discrimination toward them, 25% would worry about being perceived as lazy, and 40% say their periods aren’t severe enough to warrant paid leave.
Support for Menstrual Leave From Both Democrats and Republicans
Somewhat surprisingly, this seems to be an issue on which respondents from both parties are mostly aligned. 84% of total Democratic respondents said they would be likely or very likely to support paid menstrual leave vs a slightly lower percentage of total Republican respondents, at 76%.
Support among Democratic and Republican women was very similar at 79% and 78%, respectively. However, there was a more notable difference between Democratic men and Republican men. 88% of Democratic men said they would support paid menstrual leave, nearly ten points higher than Democratic women, vs 74% of Republican men who say they would be likely to support the policy.
Despite the ongoing divide over reproductive rights in the U.S., a paid menstrual leave policy seems to be one thing we can all agree on. With Spain’s announcement, additional countries and even individual companies are considering implementing a similar policy. Given the popularity of this policy among employees, companies should take note if looking to attract top talent.
This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on May 20, 2022. In total, 1,250 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were currently employed for wages in the U.S.
- Male: 53.67%
- Female: 46.33%
- 16-17: .08%
- 18-24: 11.98%
- 25-34: 29.87%
- 35-44: 32.75%
- 45-54: 15.34%
- 54+: 9.98%
- Republican Party: 27.4%
- Democratic Party: 40.26%
- Unaffiliated: 26.76%
- Other: 5.59%
- Non-management employee: 46.57%
- Manager: 36.66%
- Owner/Executive: 16.77%
- Education: 8.55%
- Healthcare: 17.89%
- Service/Hospitality: 7.91%
- Retail: 11.58%
- Business: 5.59%
- Civil Service: 2.4%
- Real Estate: 2.16%
- Tech: 7.83%
- Finance: 5.43%
- Law: 1.6%
- Manufacturing: 6.63%
- Construction: 5.75%
- Transportation: 4.07%
- Other: 12.62%