Menopause and the workplace

Posted 18/10/2019 : By: Lauren Johns

Still thought of as a slightly taboo subject, and a cause of embarrassment for employees and managers, why are we bringing this up?

Research from the CIPD has found that the three out of five (59%) working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work. There has also been some successful tribunal claims for discrimination against women going through the menopause, so it is a topic that needs to be on your agenda as there is likely to be a trend in successful cases at tribunal.

We are talking about more than hot flushes. Often when women approach the menopause, hormones start to become imbalanced, and women experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms can last several years.

While managers might become frustrated with a possible drop in performance or increased absence levels, there is a bigger issue here and we need to scratch the surface. Some women suffer in silence with this natural stage of life and often consider leaving their roles without speaking up meaning a potential loss of talent because skilled, experienced and valuable women are leaving without reaching their full potential.

What needs to happen?

In order to attract and retain talent, close that gender pay gap and create a menopause-friendly culture, we would recommend implementing a Menopause policy. The policy aims to encourage employees to have discussions with their manager and what support and adjustments can be made and raise awareness.

Points to think about:

  • Don’t assume every woman is open and wants to talk about this sensitive subject.
  • Don’t forget support might be needed for trans and non-binary employees.
  • Approach creating a menopause-friendly workplace the same way as other items on the agenda.
  • Get your male colleagues on board.
  • Consider what reasonable adjustments could be put in place i.e. temperature changes and flexible working.
  • Can your Employee Assistance Programme help?

If you would like to discuss this in more detail and future-proof your business, we can work with you to develop a menopause policy for your business. Please get in touch with one of our HR Consultants today.

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