Menopause has always been around but only in recent times has it started to make its way into conversation more and in particular within the workplace.

Menopause can have a big impact on your life and work for a number of years.

After watching the recent documentary on RTE “Ireland’s Menopause Story”, googling the topic and listening to women talk that I myself have become more aware of Menopause and Perimenopause.

Earlier this year, I attended a Webinar that the South East Region of CIPD were having centering around Challenges faced by women in the Workplace. The main points of topics were the Gender Pay Gap and Menopause. Catherine O’Keeffe of Wellness Warrior was the guest speaker talking to us all on the Menopause topic. Below is a summary of the main points that were up for discussion:

Why should businesses support Menopause? The main stands out reasons are:

  1. Staff Retention (1 in 4 women in UK leave the workplace due to menopause)
  2. Inclusion
  3. Support
  4. Social Responsibility

How does an organisation go about becoming more aware and taking action around Menopause?

  1. Role – Look at the role and the person within the role (e.g. uniform, location of desk, sun light, etc)
  2. Symptoms – Up to 50 recognisable symptoms and can last from 3-12 years in a woman’s life
  3. Reasonable adjustments
  4. Employment Equality Act – duty of care as an employer
  5. Tribunals – none to refer to in Ireland as yet but check out cases in the UK for reference
  6. Annual – On going compassion & conversation with annual training
  7. Menopause Opportunity – talking, an informal setting for employees to talk at and how best the company can support them. Have this culture deeply imbedded in the work place

In a very recent HR Magazine Article (September Issue), “People Management” it reports that, Women are in a ‘vicious cycle’.  This all related to a survey which suggests many workplaces have no menopause policy in place.

Within the article, commentators urge employers to act now, saying poor provision and support is hitting staff retention and productivity. For more on this report / survey check it out here

The main take homes from the Webinars, HR articles and from those in HR and in Senior Management is to get the conversation started, respect every woman separately and start practically.

For those businesses looking to implement a Menopause Policy should look at creating an open and menopause friendly workplace where managers and those experiencing menopause feel comfortable discussing any issues associated with this and to ensure the necessary help is known about and offered to those affected.

The policy should apply to everyone in their organisation including employees, workers, contractors, volunteers, apprentices and interns.

For any support and guidance on this, please get in touch with Core Resource.