According to study published in BMC Women’s Health, menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce, with almost eight out of ten currently in work. Despite this, many women say their workplaces offer no help or support to those suffering.
Given that most symptoms last around four years from when they first start, it is important that business owners use World Menopause Day (Tuesday 18 October), to familiarise themselves with the signs and symptoms, as well as the impact these can have on mental health and job performance.
Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but around one in 100 women experience it before the age of 40. Considering that almost three quarters of the workforce are aged between 40-64, it is an issue that does not discriminate between industry or sector.
Hot flushes (73%), tiredness or drowsiness (63%) and low mood (48%) are the three most commonly experienced symptoms of menopause in the workplace, with 34% of women admitting they had developed depression and anxiety as a result.
Tina Chander, Head of the Employment Law Team at Wright Hassall, commented: “The menopause can be a very difficult time for women, especially if they are faced with the prospect of juggling work whilst experiencing symptoms.
“The arrival of World Menopause Day should encourage employers to be mindful of those challenges, introducing policies and familiarising the entire workforce with the menopause and what it entails.
“Of the 10% of organisations that do offer support to menopausal women, 5% offer free advice, 3% have policies in place and 3% of line managers have been given training. Whilst this is a start, more needs to be done to increase this figure, so that women’s wellness is adequately protected.
“Whilst the menopause is not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, if an employee or worker is put at a disadvantage and treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms, this could be discrimination if related to a protected characteristic, such as age, sex or gender reassignment.
“With this in mind, it is in the best interests of employers to ensure menopausal women are supported, with steps taken to improve their comfortability where reasonably possible.”