A recent Government inquiry has been launched to find out if workplace discrimination is taking place, after nearly one million women have left their jobs because of menopause problems.
Due to the large proportion of women leaving the workforce, the cross-party Women and Equalities Committee launched an investigation to study the existing legislation and workplace practices around the menopause and the impact it is having on gender equality.
The menopause is a natural stage of life for women, usually in their late forties/early fifties. It can also happen earlier or later. For many women symptoms last about four years, but in some cases can last longer – up to 12 years.
Menopause is not just a female issue, it’s an organisational issue. All employers and managers need to know about it and how they can support their staff.
Employer awareness on this topic is key and reducing the stigma attached to it is vital to ensure that more people talk openly about it.
According to committee chair, Caroline Nokes MP, three in every five women are negatively affected at work as a result if the menopause, and it is having a knock-on impact on the number of women in senior positions, as well as the gender pay gap.
In its inquiry, the committee seeks to discover the nature of menopause discrimination, review whether existing legislation needs to change, and consider the difficulties of going through menopause faced by those who do not identify as women.
As HR specialists, we know the importance of considering all your employees in their times of need. To help brush-up on your menopause awareness, we have put together a few pointers below:
As a manager or employer, you may find it difficult to know which members of staff are suffering from menopause – especially if this is not a topic you have discussed openly before. The symptoms of menopause to be aware of include:
- feeling tired or lacking energy
- struggling to concentrate or focus
- feeling anxious or having panic attacks
- having hot flushes
- experiencing headaches, including migraines
If these are symptoms you have noticed as an employer or you have had the conversation with a member of staff about the menopause, there are several steps you can take to ensure that staff feel supported:
- consider implementing a menopause policy
- implement a level of flexibility, such as changing working hours
- provide training for managers to raise awareness and deal with any concerns in a sensitive way
- introduce low-cost workplace changes, such as providing desk fans
- create an open-door culture, where the team can really trust their employer
- stay mindful of employment laws that can relate to menopause issues at work, such as the risks of sex, disability or age discrimination.
HR Caddy has always believed in getting to understand our clients’ businesses, their needs, and their culture first.
For more help or advice on how your business can provide the correct menopause support, please contact us today.