Menopause In The Workplace
According to the charity “Wellbeing of Women”, around 900,000 women have left their jobs because of the menopause. The charity are encouraging Employers to get on board with and sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge. The pledge has already seen over 600 Companies sign up, including The BBC, Royal Mail and The Co-op.
The question is… are you doing enough to support the women in your organisation?
Did you know menopause symptoms can amount to disability? With that in mind, educating the entire workforce about menopause and providing valuable support for those going through this stage of life is very important.
Menopause is unfortunately still seen as a taboo subject – often overlooked and rarely talked about at work. If businesses fail to change their workplace culture and remain unprepared to support women going through this stage of life, they are potentially opening themselves up for claims of discrimination in terms of ageism, sexism and disability. They’ll also lose skilled members of the workforce.
It is not enough to simply sign the pledge and put a policy in place. There are many steps employers can make to provide a more inclusive and gender-equal working environment. Wellbeing of Women warns that around a quarter of menopausal women may consider leaving work due to symptoms. These include hot flushes, sleep problems, low mood and poor concentration.
A Growing Demographic
For every 10 employees experiencing menopausal symptoms, 6 say it has a negative impact on their work. According to the Chair of Wellbeing of Women, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, “For the first time in history, women are likely to be menopausal or post-menopausal for a longer period of time than they were reproductive.”
Nearly 5 million women aged 50-64 are currently in employment in the UK – that’s 38% more than the previous decade. As a result, they now represent the fastest growing demographic in the workplace.
How Can Your Business Create The Right Working Environment?
Educate The Workforce
Menopause is still very much a subject that people seem to find difficult to talk about. Many men and women don’t fully understand what it is and what happens. There are more than 30 recognised symptoms of menopause, and for many women perimenopause and menopause can be a life changing and isolating experience.
Therefore, it is important to have open conversations about the menopause and how it can negatively affect employees in the workplace.
Open and supportive conversations will be imperative to the success of creating a safe and supportive working environment for those going through perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Managers should be able to hold these types of conversations comfortably, and if not the Company ideally needs to be providing appropriate training for ensuring conversations of this nature do happen sensitively.
Implement a Menopause Policy
Ensure you have a comprehensive Menopause Policy in place to help managers to support employees going through these changes. At Stellamar, we have a great Menopause Policy template and lots of supporting materials and guides available to you.
Put Support in Place
Consider the support options you could offer or put in place for employees going through the menopause. Emotional support and access to talking therapies, along with offering flexibility at work would give some reassurance that the business is being sensitive to the needs of the employee.
There are an abundance of benefits to employers who actively encourage an environment in which discussions on this topic happen openly without embarrassment, and normalises the subject of menopause.