‘Vast majority of employers don’t have a menopause policy’

A new survey has found large numbers of employers don’t have a menopause policy, even those with a lot of female employees.

Dictionary definition of the word menopause - menopause and the workplace

 

Almost three quarters (72%) of businesses do not have a menopause policy and only 13% of organisations with a high representation of women in their workforce have one, according to a survey by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

They commissioned a menopause survey with YouGov, based on the responses of 1,025 HR decision makers, which found that only one in five (21%) employers consider menopausal symptoms during the performance reviews of female staff.

The survey also found variation when it came to menopause policies according to size and sector. For instance, over a quarter (27%) of large businesses (250 employees or more) say they have a menopause policy, but only 10% of small firms (0-50 employees) do. Over three quarters (77%) of manufacturing businesses questioned say that they don’t have a menopause policy in place.

Other findings were:

  • Only 16% of businesses train their line managers about the menopause. 94% of organisations in hospitality & leisure surveyed say they provide no training in this area.
  • Almost half (44%) of all the businesses that say they do not train their staff about the menopause admit to not having thought about it. 15% don’t consider it a priority whilst 7% claim that sensitivities and embarrassment about the issue hold them back.
  • Only half of organisations questioned (50%) say they are confident that women in their organisation feel able to talk about the menopause. Almost 1/3 (31%) say they are not confident and one in five say they’re don’t know.
  • Within organisations where the proportion of women was the highest, the confidence levels amongst HR teams that employees are able to talk to their employer was the lowest (57%).
  • Only 18% of organisations say they provide information about the menopause to their employees, with 13% offering internal support groups.
  • Almost 2/3  (64%) of businesses say they do not consider menopause during performance reviews for female staff. This is even higher in some sectors including manufacturing (76%), hospitality & leisure (75%), media, marketing & advertising (67%).
  • Larger organisations (250+ employees) consider issues around the menopause during performance reviews (27%) more than smaller businesses (10 to 49 employees) do (16%).

Jenny Arrowsmith,  a Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “These are disappointing results and when you consider menopause is an issue affecting the fastest-growing demographic in the UK, namely women aged 50-64, it’s clear businesses must do more.

“It’s about time that menopause is openly discussed as a health and work issue and for employers to demonstrate that they take it seriously. Establishing a menopause policy is a simple and valuable starting point.

“Not only does a menopause policy help promote positive change within an organisation, it sets a framework for evidencing how it will approach conversations about the menopause, what support affected employees can expect to receive, and where they can access additional help. In doing so, it reduces the risk of costly disputes.

“There has been a significant rise in the number of employment tribunals where menopause is mentioned over the last two to three years and as awareness of this issue grows, we expect to see complaints increase further. Our survey demonstrates that there is a considerable amount of work still to do. This risk will increase if additional legal protection is given to those who have significant menopausal symptoms, which is something the Women and Equalities Committee are considering.”

 



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