With the average retirement age for women now 63 years old, it is likely that most workplaces will have women working with menopause symptoms now and in the future.
According to the NHS, the average age for a woman to go through menopause in the UK is 51, but often symptoms can start for women in their 40s. And with the Fawcett Society stating that one in ten women left their job because of menopause symptoms, its impact on women is something employers can no longer ignore.
What you can do
Recognising the potential issues women may face and keeping communication lines open between line manager and employee is important. Anyone who is displaying menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, physical health problems, getting upset or struggling to keep up with work demands, may appreciate a friendly supportive ear. Training your leaders on what to look out for can help in those situations.
Work can be stressful and the competitive, faced-paced nature of many industries is a definite contributor to menopausal women feeling that they can’t cope. When devising a policy for dealing with menopause in your workplace, you may want to consider a better balance between office and remote working, potentially reduced hours, regular catch-ups, or a change in the office environment, such as adding more ventilation and natural light.
Simple steps like these, as well as keeping an eye on workloads, can all help.
It’s important to remember that you have a duty of care to employees and with the right care, employees will continue to flourish in a compassionate working environment, which is in everyone’s best interest.
Katie says: “Putting a menopause policy in place for your business is worth considering, and training your management on what to look out for among their teams is very important. Training can be a vital part of your defence in a tribunal claim should you need it.”
The risk if you ignore it
Whilst the menopause may not be a disability under the Equality Act 2010, the effects of the symptoms can be disabling for women, and impact day to day activities. Employers who fail to properly support women could be found to be discriminatory. A business must do all that’s practicably possibly to adapt the individual’s working environment and roles and responsibilities. Failing to do so could result in a breach of the Equality Act 2010 with a discrimination tribunal claim against you. The level of compensation in these types of claims is unlimited, so it’s important to seek advice as soon as possible.
Katie says: “Banner Jones recognises the menopause needs to be highlighted in the workplace, so we recently signed the national Menopause Pledge and have introduced a menopause policy. By doing so, we promise to actively support women affected by the menopause by talking openly, positively, and respectfully about it.
“If you want to discuss putting menopause into the spotlight in your business, then please get in touch.”
Contact the team on 0344 558 7733 or visit: www.bannerjones.co.uk/contacts/new