Menopause in the Workplace – do we really need to talk about “women’s problems”?

Date posted: 18th October 2021


In short, yes, we do! The subject is gathering momentum and support as a growing number of women are demonstrating their determination to break the “last taboo” around menopause and fight for better treatment in the workplace and better health provision. Their actions are reflected in the growing number taking their employers to court citing the menopause as proof of unfair dismissal and direct sex discrimination.

Despite women making up nearly half the UK workforce, it is estimated that nearly 900,000 have quit their jobs due to the menopause. That is nearly a million skilled and trained colleagues that have left UK businesses due to the effects of the menopause.

Research shows it is in the workplace where many women can and do struggle to manage menopause symptoms which can include anxiety, brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue, hot flushes, and painful, irregular bleeding and cramps leading to them needing to take time away from work.

The ‘Menopause Workplace Pledge’ campaign launched in early October this year by Wellbeing of Women, in partnership with HELLO! Magazine and Bupa, states that supporting women going through menopause leads to a variety of business benefits including increasing staff retention, reducing recruitment costs, improving productivity, happiness, and wellbeing, and ultimately ensuring a more diverse workforce. Campaign leaders have called on all employers to support colleagues going through menopause in the workplace.

 

The criteria laid out in the Menopause Workplace Pledge states businesses should:

  • Recognise that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace and women need support
  • Talk openly, positively, and respectfully about the menopause
  • Actively support and inform employees affected by the menopause

The campaign followed an inquiry launched by the Government earlier this year, investigating the impact of menopause and how businesses can factor in the needs of employees going through this transition.

The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Caroline Nokes, has previously commented that the menopause could potentially become a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and is actively campaigning for the Equality Act’s current protected characteristics to be expanded to include menopause. Ms Nokes said she wants employers to recognise menopause as a real physical, mental, and emotional condition that is holding women back at work and if companies want to retain experienced, qualified staff they need to make it easier to have those conversations, so that reasonable adjustments can be made.

Many businesses are choosing to implement their own menopause policies without the need for formal legislation mandating this and if you want to be one of those forward-thinking business, then contact Kingswood Group HR today. We will work with you to create your menopause policy along with support and guidance for implementation. You can contact us on 01245 204450 or enquiries@kingswoodgroup.org.

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