A recent survey by Hertfordshire law firm Debenhams Ottaway, in collaboration with the Hertfordshire branch of the CIPD, has revealed that just 25% of businesses have a menopause policy despite 43% being aware that women in their organisations have faced difficulties or even left their employment because of menopausal symptoms.
Of the 25% of respondents who had implemented a menopause policy, an overwhelming majority of 75% felt that the policy had had a positive impact. For example, one respondent commented that, “[Having a] menopause policy has opened up the conversation, enabling people to talk about it at work and feel more comfortable and supported in the work environment.”
Menopause has become a hot topic in the workplace in the last few years, likely due to menopausal women being the fastest growing demographic in the workforce and because awareness of the challenges faced by women going through menopause continues to climb up the news, HR and legal agendas. This correlates with survey findings that only 18% of respondents had read or come across a menopause policy before 2021. Whilst awareness has been raised, more needs to be done to change the mindset of many businesses and to provide greater support for women in the workplace.
The key findings of the survey are:
- 43% of organisations are aware that female employees have faced difficulties or even left their employment because of menopausal symptoms
- Only 25% of organisations have a menopause policy
- Prior to 2021, only 18% of respondents had read or come across a menopause policy
- 78% of respondents who have implemented a menopause policy and/or additional measures think it has had a positive impact
- 32% of respondents encountered negativity or resistance to implementing a menopause policy or providing other supportive measures
- 73% of respondents think menopause champions are a good idea
- 40% of respondents have taken specific measures to encourage men to understand about menopause and the impact on female employees in the workplace.
From the feedback provided by respondents, it is clear that resistance to introducing a menopause policy and providing other measures which might support women comes from both male and female employees.
Michael Kerrigan, senior employment lawyer at Debenhams Ottaway says: “It is refreshing to see that menopause is being talked about more widely in the workplace. A lot of progress has been made by businesses to help women who are impacted by menopause at work, but a lot of women still don’t feel supported in the workplace. Providing the right support is critical to business success in terms of retaining key senior female talent.”
“The number of employment tribunals citing menopause is on the rise so it’s clear that there is still much more work to be done – particularly in the workplace. Until more companies are proactive in providing this support, they will be vulnerable to employment claims against them.”
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