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Should workplaces have a menopause policy?

Posted on: 13/08/2021

Future-proof your business by supporting people through the menopause. We caught up with Tracy Michael and Kelly Marsden from The HR Team to find out more….

Some women go through the menopause with little impact on their daily life. But others experience symptoms that can last for several years and have a negative impact on their performance and attendance at work. A bad night’s sleep can affect concentration, while heavy periods or hot flushes can be physically distressing and embarrassing. The psychological effects can also impact relationships at work. For some, the symptoms are so severe that women are forced to leave their job altogether.

Recent surveys have found that most women feel there is a stigma attached to discussing periods in the workplace, with over half saying they feel embarrassed to mention it at work.

Many women feel they can’t be honest with their employer about needing to take time off work because of their period. Almost half of all women feel unable to say they couldn’t come to work as a result of period-related problems.

There is widespread agreement some HR policies should be in place to make it easier for women to work while on their periods.  Two-thirds of women also said they would be more inclined to apply and accept a job if the company had a policy in place.

Interestingly, “period leave” policies adopted by some companies in Asia have been recently criticised for reinforcing negative gender stereotypes of female workers and periods.

So perhaps offering free pain killers, hot water bottles, desk fans and the option of working from home if symptoms are severe is all that required in terms of a HR policy.

Whatever policies you implement, don’t forget that you have a legal duty to ensure working conditions do not exacerbate someone’s symptoms – and to protect employees from discrimination.

By supporting women through the menopause, your organisation will benefit from increased engagement and loyalty, as well as lower sickness absence and employee turnover.



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