To mark World Menopause Day last Monday, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling on employers to develop more inclusive workplace cultures to ensure that menopausal women feel supported and able to discuss their symptoms.
While it acknowledges that there are examples of good practice in some workplaces, the IOSH recommends that more employers need to adopt further measures to ensure that menopausal women not only remain in their jobs but are able to flourish. These include:
- Considering whether existing policies and procedures, such as flexible working patterns, address menopause-related issues
- Ensuring risk assessments consider specific risks to menopausal women and identify reasonable adjustments for individuals
- Developing awareness, training and education strategies that raise understanding of menopause and associated symptoms, their impact on work and potential solutions
- Following the advice of health and safety professionals based on the outcomes of sensitive health risk assessments
- Developing more inclusive and supportive workplace cultures and managerial styles that make women feel comfortable disclosing symptoms or requesting adjustments to support them with symptoms.
The recommendations from the IOSH build on a UK government inquiry into menopause and the workplace (which closed for evidence in September) by the Women and Equalities Committee. It was launched after a survey found that three in five menopausal women were negatively affected at work by their symptoms, with nearly 900,000 women in the UK leaving their jobs because of it.
As menopause mainly affects women in their late 40s and early 50s, the committee is concerned that those eligible for senior management roles may end up leaving work at the peak of their career with knock-on effects on workplace productivity, the gender pay gap and the gender pension gap.
To keep up to date with the ongoing inquiry by the Women and Equalities Committee, click here.