Menopause has become an increasingly discussed topic, with high-profile women talking about their own experiences across a variety of media channels. As awareness is rising in the public arena, it has highlighted the question on how the menopause should be treated at work and what employers should be doing to support their employees affected by menopause.
Menopause has become an increasingly discussed topic, with high profile women talking about their own experiences across a variety of media channels. As awareness is rising in the public arena, it has highlighted the question on how the menopause should be treated at work and what employers should be doing to support their employees affected by the menopause.
There is no doubt that the menopause is a workplace issue. Women in the age bracket of 40 to 55 are the fastest demographic in the British workforce and given that the menopause primarily affects cisgender women between the age of 45 to 55 (average age is 51), it should be recognised as a long-term health condition that affects a large proportion of the workforce.
Menopausal symptoms can significantly affect the lives of those experiencing them and recent research from the CIPD revealed that 59% of women felt that the symptoms of the menopause had a negative impact on them at work. Symptoms such as poor concentration, memory loss, fatigue and increased stress were deemed to be the most prominent symptoms affecting those in work. Importantly, women also felt unable to disclose their struggles to line managers or colleagues due to worries about being perceived negatively or that their abilities would be questioned. Perhaps unsurprisingly and due to this, 1 in 4 women are leaving the workplace because of the menopause (2021, Benenden Health).
So where should employers start?
For a long time, there was a stigma attached to discussing the menopause in the workplace and none more so than in the legal profession. However, the tide is turning. Both law firms and the wider business community, are waking up to the fact that it is not only a priority for them to provide menopause support from a health, safety wellbeing and D&I perspective but it is also a commercial priority to ensure the retention of talent in this demographic of the workforce.
Laura Mahoney is a HR Business Partner at law firm Browne Jacobson and has been integral in helping to raise awareness of the menopause across the firm.
This article was first published by Law News.
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