More employers rolling out menopause policies

Channel 4, Pitney Bowes and WH Smith have launched menopause policies for World Menopause Day as HR organisations release their own guidance.

middle aged woman smiling outdoors


Three major employers have announced that they are rolling out new menopause policies to coincide with World Menopause Day today as Acas and the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development also launched new guidance.

Around two million women aged over 50 have difficulties at work due to their menopause symptoms and it is estimated that one in 20 women could go through an early menopause. The effects can lead to staff feeling ill, losing confidence to do their job or feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.

One employer which is part of a growing number of employers who are keen to do more for older women in the workforce is WH Smith. It is launching new menopause guidelines today which will cover all of its employees. For instance, in head office employees suffering hot flushes can benefit from a more relaxed dress code. The company has also tried to provide employees and line managers with as much support as possible so that they feel comfortable talking about their symptoms in the workplace.

The company is also signposting employees to other resources and information sources which can help them increase their knowledge and support each other.

Global technology firm Pitney Bowes also held a Menopause Cafe on World Menopause Day, launched an intranet site dedicated to the topic and has published guidance on supporting the discussion between manager and employee.

Channel 4 is also launching a dedicated menopause policy today, which is says is the first known among UK media companies.

The new policy is designed to support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms whilst providing guidance to colleagues and line managers about how they can be supportive to those transitioning through it.

Channel 4 says it wants to end the stigma around the menopause by encouraging a better understanding of it among employees and facilitating a more open work environment.

As part of Channel 4’s menopause policy, women have access to flexible working arrangements; paid leave if feeling unwell due to common symptoms, including the sudden onset of symptoms whilst at work; a private, cool and quiet space; a working environment assessment to ensure that their physical workspace is not making their symptoms worse, and an array of support and guidance resources.

The broadcaster is also introducing menopause awareness briefings to its leadership teams.

Channel 4’s HR team now has a dedicated Menopause Champion and the broadcaster’s mental health employee network 4Mind, as well as its in-house gender equality staff network 4Women.

Guidance for employers

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development held an event in Parliament this week to launch a manifesto for the menopause at work, which detailed a range of adjustments organisations should consider to support workers experiencing symptoms. These included the option to work from home, flexi hours and the provision of quiet spaces for those experiencing stress and anxiety.

And Acas launched guidance to help employers and managers support staff who are affected by menopause symptoms at work.

It highlights symptoms such as feeling tiring and lacking energy, hot flushes, feeling anxious and panic attacks and headaches including migraines.

The new Acas advice includes tips for workers on how to raise any concerns and good practice guidance for employers to help manage menopause at work. Top tips include:

  • Create and implement a menopause policy
  • Provide awareness training for managers to deal with any concerns in a sensitive way
  • Create an open and trusted culture within the team
  • Make changes where possible such as altering working hours
  • Implement low-cost environmental changes such as providing desk fans
  • Awareness of employment laws that can relate to menopause issues at work such as the risks of sex, disability or age discrimination.

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