Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
World Menopause Day is on 18th October each year. It’s purpose is to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
Every year there is a theme. The theme for 2022 is “Cognition and Mood”.
Cognition and mood covers symptoms such as low mood, irritability, anxiety, lack of confidence and issues with memory and/or concentration (“brain fog”). It can also cover fatigue and tiredness due to experiencing difficulty sleeping.
We are increasingly seeing cases come through the Employment Tribunals which relate to the menopause and its symptoms – including those listed above. It is therefore not surprising that the Women and Equalities Committee First Report of Session 22-23, Menopause and the Workplace, HC 91 recommended that the menopause should be designated as a protected characteristic for discrimination claims. Although it remains to be seen whether these recommendations will be adopted.
How does this affect my company / employees and what can I do?
Even where an employee doesn’t pursue a claim, failure to actively address menopause can still prove costly both in terms of time, money and retention strategies. Although for some, the symptoms have little effect, for others, if not addressed it can seriously impact their work. This can then lead to various issues, ranging from performance processes, long term sickness absence and, in some cases, even their departure from the business.
What about having a “Menopause Champion”?
Many organisations now have Mental Health first aiders. And some are taking this one step further by appointing a menopause champion who employees can go to and discuss issues they are having in relation to the menopause and its symptoms. Someone to assist with signposting the employee to useful external supports alongside providing internal support to employees. Menopause champions can also help to raise awareness of the menopause, set up support groups and act as a liaison between managers and employees.
Do you have a policy/policies in place which cover menopause?
It’s also becoming commonplace to reference the menopause in policies. Some employers favour standalone Menopause policies; others include a section on the menopause in Health and Wellbeing Polices. Either way, the policy should contain information signposting employees to those they should refer any issues.
At the very least, organisations should promote a more “open” culture that is designed to give staff the confidence to raise the menopause and its symptoms. It is also good practice for organisations to listen to their staff and work with them in improving working arrangements and environments. Simple fixes being:
- Making sure employees have easy access to a fan or ventilation;
- Making sure that there is a ready supply of water; and
- Reviewing the use of uniforms and the material they are made from.
Is it time to review your policy in relation to Health and Wellbeing and consider inserting something in relation to the menopause and what the organisation will do to help if this is an issue that staff are having?