In an ever-aging workforce the ‘MakeMenopauseMatter’ Campaign was launched in 2018 to highlight the lack of menopause awareness in society. One of the campaign’s key concerns is that too many women experiencing the menopause feel unsupported at work and currently 1 in 10 leave the workplace due to menopause symptoms.
Here, Olivia Gunson, Senior HR Coordinator at HR Revolution looks at whether employers should introduce a menopause policy.
Why should we have a menopause policy?
As an employer you have a duty of care towards your employees, having a policy in place will help bridge the current gap in awareness of this issue. Making employees and line managers aware of your stance on this issue will hopefully help provide clarity to those experiencing the menopause, not leaving them to suffer in silence.
Benefits of having a clear menopause policy in place:
- Creates an age and gender inclusive workforce – having policies to support those experiencing the menopause demonstrates that you are an inclusive employer.
- Increases engagement, attendance and retention – knowing that they are supported will hopefully mean that women affected by the menopause will not become part of the 1 in 10 that leave the workforce. Additionally, knowing that they are supported may also increase their engagement with the Company.
- Compliance – as an employer you have a duty of care from a health and safety perspective as well as ensuring that that the working environment is not worsening someone’s menopausal conditions.
How can the Company help?
Although all experiences of the menopause are not universal there are certain options that you as a good employer can do to help.
To support employees, you can provide:
- Flexible working – this could be working from home, later start time, greater flexibility on their working hours, reduced working pattern. This can be a great help to any employees who are experiencing some of the key symptoms of the menopause.
- Create an open and supportive environment and culture
- Provide information and support to employees experiencing the menopause
- Review policies and procedures, check that they support and do not discriminate against anyone experiencing the menopause.
- Carry out the appropriate risk assessments
- Offer an employee assistance programme or share details of support lines that can provide counselling and advice regarding the menopause.
- Training managers – employees whose line managers are clued up and aware of the difficulties may be less likely to leave and will feel more supported.
Each organisation will have different culture, ideas and methods to help those experiencing the menopause, however the above list can act as a starting point on this relatively new area for concern.
Even though the menopause is a temporary part of a woman’s life, there is no doubt that it can be a debilitating, prolonged episode for some and by making their work life easier you, as an employer, can help to reduce some of the stresses that worsen an already difficult chapter of their life.
If you need any further support or have any questions surrounding this issue or need further HR advice, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 5385 311.