Employers urged to ensure their workplace is menopause friendly
WHEN it comes to subjects to shy away from in the office or workplace – the menopause will more than likely be at the top of the list for many.
That is until now, as employers are being urged to give the hot topic time and a place in their company’s policy, in light of research warning that an estimated one million women could quit their job due to a lack of menopause support.
Businesses are being urged to create a more open culture when it comes to discussing the one-time taboo topic, which this month is a focus for the Government’s Women and Equalities Committee.
The ongoing Menopause and the Workplace inquiry is currently hearing evidence in the case for making workplaces more menopause friendly.
Peterborough-based recruitment firm Anne Corder Recruitment is leading the call locally for a better understanding and management of menopause in the workplace.
Figures suggest that at least 5.87 million women of menopausal or perimenopausal age are currently working in the UK, with the results of a recent survey suggesting 18 per cent were looking to leave as a result of their symptoms.*
Anne Corder Recruitment managing director Nel Woolcott said: “These figures show that women continue to suffer in silence. For those who are impacted by the effects and symptoms of the menopause, it can be a lonely and embarrassing time in their life.
“Not everyone wants to share their feelings of anxiety over meeting a new client or talk about the hot flushes felt while presenting to members of the company board.
“However, these can be real scenarios which many women find difficult to talk about, for fear of being ridiculed or not taken seriously.
“While every workplace has to recognise and act upon the legal rights of women in pregnancy, the menopause is a seldom-discussed workplace matter, and yet it’s something that affects hundreds of thousands of women every year.”
Menopause typically affects those aged between 45 and 55. Recent studies show that the 50-60 age bracket of those in employment is the fastest growing age group, in part a result of the trend towards an ageing population.
Research has also shown that lack of sleep and other symptoms can also lead to sickness and absenteeism, impacting not only on the individual, but the company as a whole.
Nel added: “Employers should and can take steps to ensure that women going through the menopause continue to feel valued and supported.
“After all, many of these members of staff may have been with the company for years. We would really encourage line managers to keep the lines of communication open and empathise with what is effectively a health condition.”
Menopause specialist, trainer and author of The Business of Menopause, Bev Thorogood added: “Menopause is a ‘hot’ topic right now, with many forward-thinking employers recognising the impact of menopause on all areas of business.
“Line managers need to feel confident to have supportive conversations with the people who work for them. They need to know where to go for help and what they can realistically do to help.
“Businesses also need to be able to support their managers to confidently deal with performance related issues that may arise as a result of menopause.”
According to a 2021 report from 50Plus Choices Employers Taskforce, a quarter of women consider giving up work because of menopause symptoms, while a 2019 CIPD study found that almost a third of respondents were forced to take sick leave.
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- Report commissioned by KuroKids January 2022