Menopause and the workplace

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Menopause and the workplace

2022-01-12T09:20:40+00:00 January 12th, 2022|News, All, Company News, HR News|

Gender equality is a much talked about subject but there are various indications that industries are still not doing enough to bridge the gap and most industries are still not gender equal. Menopause is one of those indications. Approximately 1 million women leave the workplace every year because of menopausal symptoms and not feeling supported at work. Following a woman’s progression through a business, most women will start to experience menopausal symptoms as they reach senior management or executive levels.

The average age for a woman to go through the menopause is between 45 and 55, however symptoms can start much earlier and last much longer. Certain illnesses can bring about early menopause as well. And symptoms can last for 8, 10 years or longer.

Symptoms are vast and can include but are definitely not limited to, insomnia, hot flushes, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, and problems with memory or recall. Many women go to the Doctor worrying that they have early onset dementia.

The CIPD says that menopause is the greatest workplace taboo to date; men and women alike just don’t talk about it. Menopausal women have been stigmatised and this means many feel it is inappropriate to talk about it which makes women going through it feel as if they cannot come forward and talk about their symptoms or the struggles they are having. It’s not only women that are affected by menopause either, men will often be supporting menopausal mothers or partners and the mental health effects can be far reaching.

We need to support females going through the menopause to retain this very large talent pool of people. Menopausal women are the fastest growing workplace demographic and not only that, but they are staying at work longer than ever before. There are 4 million women between the ages of 45 and 55 in the workplace at the moment and 1 in 4 of those women consider leaving work due to difficulties around menopause at work and their experiences. It costs approximately £30,000 to replace a colleague on an average salary of £25,000, so the math speaks for itself. Retention is key.

There are also legal obligations. It is against the law to discriminate with regard to gender or age and there is now case law at tribunal where symptoms have been so severe, they have been considered a disability.

Some of the thing’s workplaces can do to support women going through the menopause include ensuring you have the frameworks to support it; look at offering counselling for instance. Hold listen and learn sessions to educate other team members, hold menopause training for line managers. Be open and create a culture where it’s OK to talk about it. Make adjustments in the office to make it more comfortable for women experiencing physical symptoms. Seriously consider flexible working and have some flexibility around sickness policies, especially trigger points.

About Aspire HR

Headquartered in Cambridge, UK Aspire HR make Human Resources available and affordable to all companies no matter how small. Few businesses can afford a full time HR professional.

Aspire HR is your flexible HR manager; here to help you protect your business, leaving you to concentrate on what you do best – run your business. We help businesses to grow and be profitable, and we look to partner with you to build strong long-standing relationships.

Get in touch with our CIPD accredited HR Consultants today on 01223 855441.

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