Menopause in the workplace
There is a growing conversation on the issues that surround menopause in the workplace. However, there are gaps in the ways companies deal with the impact this has on the lives of working women.
Often, menopause is not clearly defined, and this may be the reason why there are a lack of policies addressing the symptoms and issues in the workplace.
Conversations about menopause
Menopause occurs to women between the ages of 45-55, where their oestrogen levels decline. However, it is possible for women to experience menopause before the age of 40 years old. This is a natural stage of life and there are different stages of menopause. For instance, some symptoms can last a few months to several years. Therefore, it is important that conversations to support women in the workplace are made and are done so regularly.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flushes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low mood or anxiety
- Problems with memory or concentration
Today, the number of women who stay in the workforce until pension age is steadily increasing. Official labour statistics show that the over-50s accounted for 72 per cent of the growth in the employment of women between 1992 and 2012.
Creating a positive environment
Creating a positive environment ensures employees are confident when carrying out their roles and can comfortably share their concerns. The events of the pandemic over the last two years have also shed light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing of those in the workplace. Therefore, taking steps to create a good work/life balance will significantly help to reduce anxiety and tiredness.
Employers should take the time to ensure all employees know where they to find the company’s menopause policy and who to speak with. Appointing a designated member of staff to deal with the policy and offer guidance is equally important. Employers can also take the initiative to partake in training sessions to stay update on cases/research relating to menopause.
For retention purposes companies should look to implement long term measures ensure the support does not stop at induction but is carried throughout the working life. It is becoming increasingly apparent that a balanced work/life is key to producing the best work and is an attribute of the most successful companies. This is not just a woman’s issue and should be treated as an opportunity for companies to re-structure their work practices to achieve the best results for all.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.