While Women’s History Month provides a much-need opportunity to highlight women’s issues, few have gone beyond simply discussing them. Media InSite Ltd. has taken action with progressive updates to its internal HR policies, including the implementation of paid menstrual leave and policies to address Intimate Partner Violence.
The ongoing global debate on menstrual leave stems from society’s perception of women and the misconception, mainly by men, of how the menstrual cycle works. Some argue that this specialized time off is unfair, unnecessary and implies that women are weak and controlled by their bodily functions. But menstrual leave simply caters to the biological needs of women and operates similar to a maternity leave policy, available to be accessed by those who need it, providing a safe space without stigma.
With this new policy, Media InSite joins the ranks of only a few countries to do the same including South Korea, Zambia and Indonesia. The policy also facilitates paid time-off for employees who have to support their partner or spouse during their menstrual cycle. As a woman-owned business where the majority of staff members are women, Media InSite CEO Allison Demas sees this as a step in the right direction. She considered it to be a thoughtful solution to a challenge faced by her staff.
“During performance reviews, I realized that there were female employees who had no other choice but to take “sick leave” or “emergency leave” when they were unable to work due to painful and/or uncomfortable menstruation. Consequently, I sought the advice of Erica Ashton our HR Management Consultant.”
With the rise in local reports of Gender-Based Violence ending in fatalities, particularly Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Media InSite has also added provisions for employees affected by this issue. The added policy not only reinforces that IPV allegations against or by employees will be taken seriously, but also that the company is cognizant of the situation the victims are facing. The updates have also ensured that policies are inclusive.
“During the review process,” Demas says, “we agreed that in order to achieve gender parity we would change our terminology from ‘paternity' leave to ‘partner’ leave as well as Intimate Partner Violence instead of domestic violence. It was a very enlightening process.”
With these new internal policies, Media InSite continues to be a pioneer in the Caribbean, meeting the needs of its clients while ensuring that all members of staff are taken care of.
“I am striving to create a virtual, supportive & nurturing working environment,” Demas adds, “ in which all employees achieve their true potential regardless of gender, race, personal beliefs, or socio-economic background.”