The World of Work by Harry Sherrard
World Menopause Awareness Month
We are 1 week into World Menopause Awareness Month.
How is your company marking 18th October ‘World Menopause Day’?
Only last week the Employment Tribunal ruled on a case (Mrs K v Thistle Marine) with the judge saying the tribunal ‘had no difficulty in accepting’ the employee had been harassed and unfairly dismissed, and has recommended that organisations are more proactive in supporting menopausal workers. The employee in this case was awarded £37,000.
In another recent case Direct Line was ordered to pay a former employee almost £65,000 after it failed to make reasonable adjustments when her role was affected by menopause symptoms.
Earlier this year the Government decided against making menopause a new protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, because it was decided that existing protected characteristics of sex, age and disability already provided protection against discrimination and harassment as a result of menopause.
Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace, that’s women aged between 45 and 60. Women who contribute greatly to the success of your business. 1 in 4 women have considered leaving work due to their menopause with some women forced to take long-term absences to manage symptoms. Menopause has an impact on relationship with family, partners, and work colleagues.
Perceptions around menopause are changing and forward-thinking employers are committed to becoming menopause friendly workplaces. If it’s something that you haven’t looked at, this is a great time to start the conversation with the leaders in your organisation and then to continue it right through the workplace. Training your teams on the subject will demonstrate a commitment to prioritising staff well-being, equality, diversity and inclusion.
For your employees handling the menopause there is a big impact on their psychology, with a lot of fear and anxiety attached to menopause. They may be experiencing symptoms that include mood swings, depression, brain fog, lack of confidence, forgetfulness and embarrassment. This can cloud judgment and makes for poor decision making. When we can’t make decisions, it leaves us feeling out of control, and then anxiety sets in, plus negative feelings and self-doubt. Society has also created a negative narrative towards menopause and hence some employees will not want to talk about their menopause. But as a pro-active employer you can open the conversation by training all employees to support each other and within the training there can also be a focus on the changes that can be made to belief systems. Changing the narrative to a positive one will greatly support the individual to manage their emotions.
This year for World Menopause Month the spotlight is on cardiovascular disease. Looking after our health and well-being is even more important while going through menopause and beyond. While hormones and menopause do not directly cause heart disease, they play an important role in influencing the risk factors.
What can you do to encourage awareness and open conversations about Menopause in your Workplace?
- Start the conversation from the management level and throughout your organisation
- Train your staff in menopause awareness as part of your wellness training programme
- Provide support to those employees
- Look at any adjustments to the working environment
- Become an accredited ‘Menopause Friendly Workplace’
If you would like further information on our Menopause training options, please email email@example.com or call the office on 01273 834120 to talk to a member of our team.
We will also be covering the topic at our Employment Law Latest seminars in November. Limited availability remains for the seminars taking place at The RAC, London on Monday 20th November and at Camberley Heath Golf Club, Camberley on Thursday 30th November. For further information or to book a place please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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