With equality, diversity, and inclusion evermore present in corporate agendas, discussions surrounding health policies for women are long overdue. Periods, pregnancy, and menopause are (generally) inevitable in women’s lives, and it’s time employers had wider conversations about the way their companies allow for them.
A menopause policy being put in place by employers could save countless jobs, boost workplace productivity, and make the lives of working menopausal women that much easier, and here is why.
What is Menopause?
The menopause is the biological process of hormone decline that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It sees a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, leading to a range of physical and emotional symptoms that can be very difficult for women to manage – particularly in the workplace. These symptoms can vary widely, but commonly include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes such as anxiety and depression
- Reduced confidence
- Memory loss
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
For many women, menopause symptoms can significantly impact their quality of life and work performance – just imagine suffering a hot flash in an office full of people with a mountain of work on your plate, lacking the confidence to contribute to work discussions or experiencing brain fog. As such, it is important for employers to consider offering support for menopausal employees.
So, do employers have to have a menopause policy in the UK? Currently, the answer is no. Unfortunately, there is no specific legal protection aimed at workers going through the menopause, though there are protections through other acts like the Equality Act 2010. This does not, however, mean that companies should not have policies in place to ensure the fair treatment of their menopausal employees.
Since March 2023, the UK Government has in place a Menopause Employment Champion whose job is to raise awareness of the issues of menopause while promoting the support of staff who are experiencing menopause symptoms in the workplace. It is certainly highly recommended that companies do put policies in place.
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Why Have a Menopause Policy?
A menopause policy at work is a workplace policy setting out an organisation’s approach to female, trans and non-binary members of staff experiencing menopausal symptoms, and what support those employees can expect to receive during this time.
A menopause policy should be there to outline how employers will support employees who are experiencing menopause symptoms. The policy would detail the support available to employees, including flexible work arrangements, access to information and resources, and access to health benefits that cover menopause treatments.
At Bodyline, we believe that the menopause should be on every organisation’s agenda and that there should be treatment options available to suffering women in the workplace. That’s why we have an approachable and supportive clinical service working with organisations to deliver gold standard, industry leading, corporate medical solutions – the M Plan – for perimenopause and menopause delivers quantifiable organisation cost benefits and provides life enhancing results to the employee.
Menopause policies are crucial for the following reasons:
Menopause can affect women in different ways, and it is not uncommon for women to experience severe or debilitating symptoms that can impact their ability to work. By having a menopause policy in place, employers can provide support to employees who are experiencing menopause symptoms. This can lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.
Menopause is often a taboo subject, and many women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing their symptoms with their employer. By having a menopause policy in place, employers can help to remove the stigma associated with menopause and create a more open and supportive workplace culture.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Offering support for menopausal employees can help to attract and retain talented employees. 1 in 10 women have left their work due to menopause symptoms, a menopause policy can ensure the talent feels valued and is more likely to remain. Plus, in today’s competitive job market, offering support for menopause can be a valuable benefit that sets an employer apart from the competition.
What Should a Menopause Policy Include?
A separate menopause policy will provide clarity for both management and employees, for example, by setting out key rights and responsibilities, and signposting staff to support. This can help to inform individuals of what’s expected of them, and what they can expect in return,
There is no standard format for a menopause policy although, as a matter of best practice, the following sections will help to create a clear and effective policy document:
- Statement of intent – clearly states the commitment to ensuring health, safety and wellbeing of employees specifically related to menopause related symptoms.
- Aims of the policy – outline the purpose of the policy through signposting and direction. This should raise awareness of the menopause throughout all employees.
- Definitions – this section would include a definition and brief explanation of what the menopause is and how it can affect individuals differently, with examples of the types of symptoms that can often be experienced.
- Relevant law – outlines the legislative provisions relating to both health and safety, and around equality, in the context of employees going through the menopause and how this can impact them at work.
- Available support – provide details of arrangements in the workplace for menopause sufferers. This could include potential adjustment to work, self-help options and signpost to external organisations for support and treatment such as Bodyline.
Developing a policy also provides an ideal opportunity to help raise awareness, provide a platform for discussion and training, and create a shift in outdated attitudes around this serious but often overlooked work-related issue. In this way, development of a menopause policy can go a long way to help ensure that sufferers are not disadvantaged, or otherwise unlawfully discriminated against, and that valuable talent is not lost from the workforce.
A menopause policy should be advised based on the business’ targets, across human resources, productivity, and internal KPIs. Menopause policies should also include access to healthcare and wellness services targeted at menopause, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Bodyline offers advice on menopause policies as well as:
- Audits to assess and identify the risk within the organisation
- Access to information and resources about menopause and available treatments
- Training and workshops on menopause awareness for staff
- Support for the launch of our M-Plan, which offers HRT treatment and resources for employees experiencing menopause symptoms
At Bodyline, we firmly believe that every women’s experience of the menopause is different and Bodyline offers a personalised M-Plan – HRT treatments & wellness plan. The M Plan includes prescriptions including lifestyle advice, medical treatment, and vitamin & supplement recommendations for those currently going through perimenopause or the menopause. With blood profiling for each individual making use of the service, menopausal employees will have targeted hormone replacement therapy treatments personalised to their symptoms, medical history, and hormone deficiencies through their workplace.
If you are an employer who wants to expand their menopause policy within workplace to include menopause treatment, contact Bodyline Medical Wellness Clinics today at 0800 995 6036 or fill in our online contact form for a call back. Our team of experts can support you to meet the needs of your employees and your organization.