Workplace Policies for the Menopause
Last week the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) launched a manifesto for the menopause at work. This manifesto was launched to help increase awareness of the menopause as a workplace issue. Women aged 45 and over are the fastest growing employee group in the labour market according to the CIPD and therefore adequate support for those experiencing the menopause is a growing and important issue.
In a CIPD poll 59% of working women experiencing menopause symptoms said it had a negative impact on their work with 30% of working women aged 45-55 being unable to go to work at some point because of their symptoms. Of those absent from work three quarters felt unable to tell their manager the real reason for their absence.
The CIPD manifesto outlined a number of adjustments that workplaces could consider to support workers experiencing menopause symptoms. These could include the option to work from home, offering later starting times and providing access to quiet spaces to help employees cope with stress and anxiety. The manifesto also made three policy calls for building menopause friendly workplaces:
- The Government should ensure that menopause is referenced as a priority issue in its public policy agenda on work, diversity and inclusion.
- The Government should nominate a Menopause Ambassador to represent the interests of women experiencing menopause transition across Government departments.
- The Government should support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness of the menopause as a workplace issue.
Earlier in the year the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) surveyed over 2,400 people on this issue. The results showed some worrying treatment for women experiencing the menopause. Nearly half of respondents (49%) said the menopause had been treated as a joke in their workplace and 28% said it had been treated negatively.
Nearly all of the respondents (99%) said they did not have, or did not know if they had, a workplace menopause policy. In addition 96% said they would welcome the introduction of a menopause policy. There is no specific legislation dealing with the issue of the menopause at work however employers have legal obligations under health and safety legislation to look after the health and welfare of their employees.
Women make up just over half of the workforce in Northern Ireland and around 56% of those aged over 50 still work.
The results of this survey show that menopausal women face challenging issues in the workplace and that many get little support. The introduction of workplace policies on this issue could help to ensure that women are properly supported through the menopause at work.
You can read information about the launch of the CIPD manifesto on the menopause at work here: https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/news-articles/manifesto-menopause-work
You can read the full ICTU report here: https://www.ictuni.org/download/pdf/ictu_menopause_survey_results.pdf