You’re exactly the type of person who can provide free tampons for employees – you don’t even need Tampon Club.
If your company already has tampon machines in the toilets, you can hook into the existing tampon machine and services infrastructure to get tampons supplied to your employees pretty straightforwardly.
If your company is of a smaller scale, consider putting a box of tampons and a box of sanitary towels into the toilets with a note explaining that the company is now providing tampons for employees for free. Invite feedback from any users of the toilets. Build replenishing the tampons into whatever routine is in place for replacing the toilet paper.
Really? My company should provide free tampons for employees?
Absolutely! If your company provides any kinds of ‘perks’, like tea, coffee, milk, beer or free lunches, then you should definitely be providing free tampons in the toilets. This provision will not only help your employees be more productive but it’s also going to be really useful for anyone visiting your office who gets caught short, as they’re even less likely to be able to pop out of the office to buy tampons or ask a colleague for one.
How much will it cost?
Estimates of the number of tampons used by a period having individual per year vary between sources:
- This study of 110 women found they used a median of 169 products per year.
- Divacup.com states that women use 240 tampons each year though doesn’t cite a source.
- There is also a lot of reckoning on Yahoo Answers that we won’t include here.
169 is the lowest number we’ve found and 240 is the highest, let’s take the mean of those two numbers and call it 204 tampons per year.
Someone working 8 hours per day on a 5 day week with 30 days holiday per year will spend 21% of the year in the office (unless they work from home).
21% of 204 = 42.84
42.84 is the number of tampons needed while at work.
The cheapest tampons sold by UK retailer Boots are 5p per unit, but let’s round it up to 10p as this is closer to the average cost per unit.
So providing free tampons for one person in your office is going to cost about 42.84*0.1 per year, that’s £4.28.
Sanitary towels are more like 15p per unit but are used by fewer people. You should still provide some of these as many folks use them because they can’t use tampons or simply prefer them.
It’s not possible to find out the number of employees you have that need tampons without asking some very personal questions (not an approach we recommend). There are many reasons why you can’t simply take the number of women at your company as your number to provide for, here are some of them:
- Not all menstruating folk use disposable sanitary wear
- Not all women have periods
- Not all men don’t have periods.
As a number to get you started, take the number of women you employ and treat it as your maximum. That won’t account for any trans men, but it will over account for women who aren’t having periods or don’t use tampons.
Providing free tampons and sanitary towels is very cheap per employee, but if you’re worried that setting this up is going to cripple your company financially then try a pilot scheme for a few months to see how much it costs.
If I provide tampons for women will I have to provide stuff for men too so it’s fair?
Nope! Equality is not about giving the same or equivalent free stuff to everyone, it’s about equal opportunities. Most men currently don’t have periods, and neither do a reasonable number of women. Giving out free tampons is just about addressing a minor workplace disadvantage that some people face.
Still not convinced?
Here are some good pieces by other people on this topic:
- Elizabeth Plank on mic.com: If men had their period would tampons be free
- Then there’s this rather good thread on Reddit: I’m Office Manager at an office with mostly young women, should I buy feminine hygiene products for them and what brand?