The bottom line and the menopause - Business Works
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The bottom line and the menopause

by Katie Day, Director, RDP International Why would you ignore the wellbeing of 25% of your staff? Businesses need to take notice of the latest 'hot topic' in their duty of care to staff - the menopause.

The effect of moderate to severe menopausal experiences for women can be devastating, resulting in a dip in their productivity, absence due to stress, performance issues, along with possible adverse effects on relationships and communication with team members and clients.

Over the last few decades, the number of women in employment in the UK has increased, with women now representing nearly half of the UK workforce. Within that group, there are around 3.5 million women of menopausal age (45 and over).

Recent research has indicated that women who experience a high percentage of menopause-linked symptoms (with those experiences being frequent) also reported they felt less engaged at work and less satisfied with their job. A high percentage also indicated that they were more likely to quit their job and felt a low sense of commitment to their employer.

Even if women choose to stay within their job, they are less likely to put themselves forward for promotion or specialist roles. This can have an impact for the team, and potentially the company as a whole, and it may negatively affect diversity and inclusion internally.

it makes economic sense, it makes business sense and it is the right thing to do!

Current legislation makes it imperative that business takes this issue seriously and ensures sufficient and adequate policies and procedures are in place. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Gender Equality Act, women are able, if required, to bring claims for unfair treatment due to their menopausal experiences to employee tribunal (BT in 2012 and against the Scottish Courts in 2018 - both in favour of the claimant).

What can business do?

  • Talk about this life transition openly and transparently and ensure appropriate language and behavior is adhered to
  • Up-skill all staff in their understanding of this phase in a woman's life with appropriate training:
    • Courses for women affected so they understand what is happening and why - how they can support themselves
    • Courses for line managers / team members / and anyone affected or interested to demystify the menopause, help people to have 'difficult conversations', increase understanding and empower people to offer support
  • Be clear on policies and procedures linked to Health and Safety at Work and Gender Equality and update them if needed
  • Have specific policies in place to support women
  • Practical changes / options for women:
    • Access to desk fans
    • Easy access to outside areas
    • Support women in their need for regular 'breaks'
    • Avoid long meetings without breaks
    • Make fresh drinking water easily available
    • Menopause included in Employee Assistance Programme schemes
    • Menopause included in absence reporting
    • Knowledge of resources available for signposting - both internally and externally
    • Having open forums where women can share experiences and get support
  • Not forgetting the men! The andropause (worthy of a separate article) is also an important issue that business should be aware of

Why not get things in place and support your female employees now? Become a leader in this rapidly-developing area and be sure to meet your duty of care.

It makes economic sense, it makes business sense and it is the right thing to do!

Katie Day is a Director of RDP International, specialising in leadership and communications training, including special courses for women in leadership. Katie is a leader in the field of the menopause in the workplace. RDPI offers a suite of programmes around 'Midlife Matters" in collaboration with their Clinical partners.

More information about 'Midlife Matters', including the menopause, can be found by visiting:

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