New SME guide on menopause launched

The BSI has launched a free new guide for SMEs on the menopause and menstrual health.

Menopause lettering. Women health concept in pink colors.


The British Standards Institution [BSI] has published free guide aimed at encouraging small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to initiate conversations with employees experiencing menopause.

BSI’s little book of menstruation, menstrual health and menopause is specifically aimed at SMEs to help them start a conversation with employees and implement straightforward changes to create a more inclusive and productive environment.

It follows research published by BSI in July identifying that a fifth of women in the UK expect to leave the workforce before official retirement and not necessarily out of personal preference, in a trend that was described as a Second Glass Ceiling. One fifth (21%) of UK women said menopause was a barrier to continuing work, and nearly three quarters (72%) said there should be more support for those experiencing symptoms. More than half (54%) said it would be difficult to raise menopause issues with an employer, and over half would be uncomfortable to do so (52%).

75% of UK women said they wanted employers to take action to address this. The report made a number of recommendations to do so, including encouraging business leaders to open the dialogue and ask women what they want, as well as ensuring support is available and accessible, whether around menopause or other considerations.

In May, BSI published the free British standard menstruation, menstrual health, and menopause in the workplace – Guide (BS 30416), setting out practical recommendations for workplace adjustments, such as the appointment of workplace menstrual health and menopause advocates. Earlier this month the Welsh Senedd became the first public organisation in Wales to adopt the standard.

The BSI says its new guide can be used in isolation or in conjunction with the standard before an organisation is able to adopt this in full. It offers recommendations on cost-effective alternatives and maps out six practical steps specifically designed to support SMEs:

– Tackling the taboo

– Considering practical aspects of work

– Developing policy guidance and best practice

– Fostering a supportive workplace culture

– Questioning how the work is designed

– Inclusivity in menstruation, menstrual health and menopause at work

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors at BSI, said: “In recognition of World Menopause Day this guide is available alongside the standard to help advance society’s journey in tackling how menopause is approached in the workplace, by mapping out simple steps specifically aimed at SMEs. All organisations, regardless of their size and structures, can partner with their people to build diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace cultures with the potential to bring enormous benefit to individuals and society.”

*For more information, or to read the little book of menstruation, menstrual health and menopause please visit the BSI website.

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