According to a study by the Fawcet Society, 10% of women have left a job due to symptoms caused by the menopause. So what can you do as an employer to support menopausal staff in the workplace?
What is the menopause?
There are 3 stages of the menopause:
Menopause usually takes place in women between the ages of 45 and 55, though some do experience early menopause or go through medical menopause.
Each stage is different, and symptoms will vary depending on the person, however, symptoms can include:
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Heart palpitations
- Headaches and migraines
- Sore muscles
- Poor concentration
- Memory loss
These symptoms can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health and wellbeing.
How can you help as an employer?
Many employees may feel uncomfortable informing their employer or talking about the menopause at all, so it is vital that you create a safe space for your staff to discuss this and provide them with the right resources and support.
- Start the conversation:
- Draw up clear policies and make them visible to all team members; emphasize that staff should speak to their line manager about support if they’re suffering from menopausal symptoms.
- Host an information session with ALL staff about what the menopause is, how its symptoms can affect workers and how the business can provide support.
*Note: It is essential that training and information is provided to all staff, not just staff who may go through the menopause. This is vital for growing awareness and providing equal support to employees who may be struggling to support a menopausal relative, friend or colleague.
- Provide resources:
- Provide training to line managers on how they should respond and the options available for support should an employee come to them for help.
- Provide all staff with a guide on the menopause, explaining what the menopause is, its symptoms and what support is available.
- If you don’t have one in place already, think about providing an Employee Assistance Programme – a helpline for your staff who may be struggling with their mental health.
- Be Flexible:
- Make it clear to your staff that you are open to flexible working to help employees to manage their symptoms. For example, some may benefit from earlier start times if they are struggling with insomnia. Others may benefit from being allowed periods of unpaid leave to help to cope with their symptoms.
REMEMBER: It is an employer’s responsibility to make sure all employees are treated fairly and without discrimination. Resources and training should be provided in every business to ensure that staff are sufficiently supported.