How employers can lead ‘the change’ on menopause

13th March 2023 Posted in Blogs

Much has been done in recent years to raise the awareness of menopause and its effect on women’s health in the workplace with employers such as AstraZeneca, BBC, Royal Mail, Co-op and Tesco leading the charge signing the Menopause workplace Pledge and crucially putting employment policies in place which support women in the workplace during menopause.

And it seemed like the government was listening, with a recommendation to make menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. The suggestion came from the Women and Equalities Committee who had previously accused ministers of making ” glacial progress” on menopause support.

Government responded, insisting it had ‘ an ambitious plan’ to improve help. In July 2022 the committee published a report which warned that the impact of menopause was causing the UK economy to “haemorrhage talent” but in spite of this ministers rejected the call to protect menopause under the Equality Act in January 2023.

So what happens now?

The government response whilst unbelievably disappointing doesn’t preclude organisations from blazing their own trail and putting in place some of the recommendations anyway. Nearly 5 million women aged 50-64 are currently in employment in the UK, they represent the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace and for the first time in history women are likely to be menopausal or post-menopausal for a much longer period of their careers.

What can employers do?

Some of the recommendations in the report included:

  • Nomination of a menopause ambassador
  • Training leaders and managers in menopause and its effects
  • Make workplace adjustments where required
  • Have flexible working arrangements where it is possible to do so
  • Include menopause leave as an employment policy
  • Have an overall menopause policy

As Health and Safety professionals, menopause is still a relatively new concept but there needn’t be any mystery surrounding it, just as we consider pregnancy to be a major life event which affects the well-being of women, menopause should be considered in the same vein as women move through this period in their life and we should be assessing if there is a risk to their safety physical and mental and those they work with.

Need help with implementing a menopause policy? we can help! get in touch for a free consultation today!

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