At a recent Employment seminar we focussed on issues affecting women in the workplace, including the menopause.
Pregnancy and returning to work after maternity leave are well understood; advice and support are readily available for women and managers. However, the same is not generally true for the menopause.
The biggest increases in employment rates over the last 30 years have been for women aged 60 - 64 (from 18% to 41%) and women aged 55 - 59 (from 49% to 69%). The menopause and its effects on women in the workplace is therefore likely to become much more of a high profile issue.
Awareness is improving, but it is important for employers and HR professionals to understand the potential issues now, to minimise the risk of future claims. Studies show that a lack of understanding of the menopause is perceived as a type of gendered age discrimination; in extreme cases, there may also be disability rights issues.
The symptoms vary between women, but around 25% of women report suffering from severe symptoms.
Symptoms of menopause can include:
These symptoms might mean women are absent from work more frequently or even leave their jobs early. Women may not put themselves forward for promotion. Diversity is therefore adversely affected.
Consider what physical and environmental changes can be made. Examples might be:
It is important to note that a one-size fits all approach will not be effective. Employers should consult with affected employees to find out what particular support they need. Doing so will help retention, diversity, and commitment to the organisation.
If you have any queries about a particular situation or wish to implement training, please contact us.