Inadequate support for women dealing with menopause in the workplace
A recent survey carried out by Unite union has shed light on an important issue in the workforce: a shocking 83% of women experiencing menopausal symptoms have no access to support at work.
Many women stated that they feel uncomfortable discussing the menopause in male-dominated environments. Furthermore, male managers often lack understanding about the health implications and challenges that women face during the menopause.
The survey findings also reveal troubling anecdotes: one woman reported being labelled as ‘pathetic’ by a male manager for using a hand fan to alleviate hot flushes, while another woman, faced with minimal support for her menopausal symptoms at work, was forced to opt for early retirement.
Alison Spencer-Scragg, the national women’s officer at Unite, stresses the importance of addressing this issue, asserting that women should not feel isolated when dealing with menopause at work. Unite’s commitment extends beyond legal obligations, aiming to foster workplaces that are supportive and understanding of the needs of women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
What can employers do?
As previously advised in our CEFM News & insights article published in November 2021, employers should consider the following:
Implement a menopause policy
Employers are encouraged to create and implement a menopause policy, and a template policy is available on CEFM’s website.
Employers should educate their workforce about what the menopause is and how it can affect women at work. This awareness can foster empathy and understanding.
Provide training and support for managers.
It is essential to offer training on menopause-related matters. This empowers managers to provide necessary support.
Sickness absence process
Employers should consider the approach used for sickness absence related to the menopause and focus on supporting individuals.
There is an urgent need for improved support for women experiencing menopausal symptoms in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to proactively create inclusive and supportive environments by implementing menopause policies, raising awareness, and offering training. Further guidance can be found from Education support and Acas.
Need support with your HR?
Our support means you can focus on education, while we take care of your organisation’s HR needs.
The health, welfare and safety section of our CEFMi website contains model policies (including a menopause policy), information and related model letters and forms. Get a free trial of CEFMi – a comprehensive resource for school managers containing over 7,000 pages of text, including over 170 policies written specifically for schools.