World Menopause Day
World Menopause Day – 18th October 2021
You might be thinking “this doesn’t apply to me” – but it does. More importantly, it applies to everyone in the workplace. This year, the International Menopause Society are encouraging all employers to raise awareness of World Menopause Day on Monday, 18 October 2021.
The menopause is often unrecognised and disregarded as a ‘woman’s’ problem. It’s important to be aware however, that the menopause can affect not only women but others, including:
- relatives, colleagues and carers who are supporting someone through the menopause;
- the trans community; and/or
- the non-binary community.
Everyone should be aware of the menopause so that they can support those who are going through it and/or those who are otherwise affected by it.
The purpose of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness and identify the support options available for improving health and wellbeing for those affected by the menopause.
Let’s start by understanding a bit more about the menopause. As part of natural ageing, it usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Some however, may start experiencing symptoms much earlier. According to NHS statistics, most reach menopause by the age of 51 with the average menopause lasting four years. Symptoms can include sleeplessness, memory loss or poor concentration, headaches, hot flushes, depression and anxiety and/or muscle and joint pains. All stages and types of the menopause are different and symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from very mild to severe. Members of the trans and non-binary community may also experience menopausal symptoms if they’re taking hormonal treatments. Employers should therefore adopt an inclusive approach for the support offered.
Those impacted by the menopause generally feel that they will be viewed as less capable of doing their job, particularly if they ask for help. Many therefore, do not speak to their employer or work colleagues about what they’re going through or what might help them. Employers can help to change this view by implementing support options promoting inclusivity, as well as normalising the conversation around the menopause in the workplace, thereby promoting a positive working environment. Even just talking about or acknowledging the menopause can make a huge difference to those who are affected by it.
How can you support those affected by the menopause? Here are some top tips on support options available:
- POLICY: Put in place a Menopause Policy which raises awareness, encourages open conversations in the workplace and sets out support/adjustments available to staff. The policy could also provide information on how people experiencing the menopause can access the support they need.
- TRAINING: Provide training to staff and/or managers about the effects of the menopause. Ensure they understand how to talk/listen and provide support (where appropriate). This could also include having menopause or wellbeing champions in the workplace. See ‘The menopause at work: guidance for line managers’.
- RISK ASSESSMENTS: Employers have a duty of care and are responsible for the health and safety of all staff. Undertaking risk assessments will help to identify any potential risks associated with the menopause and ensure symptoms are not exacerbated by the workplace or its practices.
- FLEXIBILITY: If an employee’s performance declines and you’re aware that this may be due to them experiencing menopausal symptoms, be patient and check if there are any reasonable adjustments that could be made to help them undertake their duties and enable them to perform to their full potential. Reasonable adjustments may include moving a person’s desk away from a heat source, providing ventilation and/or access to cool drinking water.
In time for World Menopause Day, help us break through the stigma by displaying these posters and leaflets in your workplace:
- Poster: Let’s talk menopause
- Poster: Let’s talk menopause – Dos & Don’ts
- Leaflet: Let’s talk menopause
Employees going through the menopause should not be subjected to any detriment, nor should they be treated less favourably, as doing so could create liability for employers. In the worst case scenario, this could potentially lead to claims of discrimination connected to a protected characteristic, namely age, disability, gender reassignment and/or sex.
Do you need help implementing a menopause policy? The GatekeeperHR team is here to help. GatekeeperHR is a fixed cost, employment law and HR retainer service which provides businesses with access to a dedicated team of experienced lawyers and HR professionals who you can speak to, or meet face-to-face, at any time. The service includes a full HR compliance audit, access to an online portal full of valuable employment law and HR resources and an annual training session on topics of your choosing. To find out more about GatekeeperHR, please contact us or call 01825 744413.
Alternatively, you can browse the GatekeeperHR website, sign up for a free trial or download our brochure by visiting www.gatekeeperhr.co.uk.