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Reproductive Leave - what is it and why do we need it?

Together members are looking at Reproductive Leave. Why?

At the 2023 Women’s Conference, Together members shared their struggles navigating their reproductive health and the surrounding taboos in the workplace. For many, this was their first time sharing their journey – and it is deeply personal.  

The symptoms of menstruation, endometriosis, poly-cystic ovary syndrome as well as menopause and perimenopause can be extremely challenging, from pain to fatigue to brain fog. Many feel if they raise it in the workplace, it’s not something that will be taken seriously or that there is too much stigma around the issue.  

Currently, 3.28 million women aged 40-59 are likely experiencing menopause or perimenopause. Almost half will consider leaving the workforce when their symptoms are severe and almost half feel stressed having to hide their experience (Victorian Women's Trust). 

Between 88% to 92% of women aged 18 to 25 experience painful periods. Around 1 in 10 women have a formal diagnosis of endometriosis (Maurice Blackburn). 

And although the majority of people who use this leave will be people who menstruate or experience menopause, it could be available to all, including for things such as vasectomies.

Together members talked about their struggle with the lack of flexibility and attempting absorb the time off needed to manage symptoms into standard sick leave entitlements. This is especially hard for women who often have more depleted leave balances due to caring responsibilities.  

In a cost-of-living crisis, it can feel like there is no choice but to go to work.  

That's why Together has launched a Reproductive Leave campaign. You can sign up here!