Research by Health and Her and the Office for National Statistics has shown that 14 million working days are potentially lost to menopause symptoms each year. Research revealed that a third of women in the 50-64 age category were taking time off work due to menopause symptoms. Over 370,000 women admitted they had either left or considered leaving a job due to difficulties in managing menopause symptoms at work.
Women in the 50-64 age group are the fastest growing economically active group. Such a loss of productivity is bad for business, as well as women. What can we do about it? Julie Dennis, a Menopause at Work Trainer, says the three key issues are greater education, more open conversations about the menopause and identifying ambassadors to represent women on the issue and lead ideas for change in the workplace. Setting up a forum where women can meet and discuss experiences can help to relieve both symptoms and stigma.
Recruitment is expensive and time consuming. It makes business sense to preserve existing talent and take active steps to accommodate the menopause. It is possible that some women might qualify as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 due to their symptoms. Accommodating the menopause isn’t just good practice, it’s essential.
Discussing menopause is still taboo. We need to break down that taboo and make it normal to talk about it at work. Employers should consider introducing a menopause policy and compulsory training for managers so that they can identify menopause issues in the workplace and support employees through it.