New data from Debenhams Ottaway and CIPD has reported that only 25% of businesses across the UK have a menopause policy in place in the workplace.
These statistics are significant, considering that women of the general menopausal age (45-54) make up 11% of all people in employment and 23% of all women in employment, which is 3.5 million women.
BUPA research also estimates nearly 1 million women have been forced to leave their jobs due to menopausal symptoms, and in some cases due to the lack of workplace support for them as they try to manage their symptoms and balance this with their work.
Before 2021, only 18% had read or come across a menopause policy at the workplace, and 32% reported a negative response to implementing one.
However, as 75% of those companies who have a menopause policy in place felt that it had had a positive impact on their employees, it is more important than ever to tackle the stigma in the workplace face on and offer your employees as much support as possible.
What is a menopause policy?
A menopause policy is a workplace policy setting out your approach to female, trans and non-binary members of staff experiencing symptoms, and what support those employees can expect to receive.
This policy can include, but isn’t limited to:
- Appropriate information and support for all workers experiencing menopausal symptoms
- Adjustments to working conditions proactively put in place
- A confidential, named point of contact for support and advice for women to speak to regarding any issues that can arise. This could be a member of staff.
- Any risk assessments taking into account the specific needs of the individual.
What are the benefits of a menopause policy?
Great companies also invest in their employees, and experienced employees are your business’s biggest asset.
Employers also have a duty of care as, although the menopause is not directly covered by the Equality Act 2010, if an employee or a worker is treated less favourably because of menopause symptoms they may be experiencing, it could amount to discrimination if it is related to a protected characteristic. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge how you can support your team.
Introducing a workplace menopause policy can help lead the way to preventing discrimination and help challenge the stigma surrounding menopause and other conditions. In turn, this can help you support your experienced, skilled, talented, hard-working employees and keep them working the jobs they love despite the challenges they are facing.
What other measures should employers do to support workers going through the menopause?
Menopause is a key workplace issue. It will affect all women at some point in their lives and is an equality as well as a health and safety issue. However, even in recent years, the topic has been subjected to some discrimination, with some employees not feeling comfortable discussing the issues surrounding menopause or expressing how they feel discriminated against.
For advice on how to create a more supportive culture at work, as well as some practical steps that you can take to help those dealing with the menopause at work, read our blog “How can you support employees going through the menopause?”
Need help creating your policy for your small business? Get in touch with the team today.
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23rd Apr 2019