With employment tribunals relating to menopause on the rise and legislative changes on the horizon we’re seeing an increasing pressure on organisations to establish a menopause policy to demonstrate their commitment to support people working through menopause.
And yet 72% of organisations don’t currently have a menopause policy or guidance. Whilst it’s not currently a legal requirement there’s a couple of good reasons why you should consider a menopause policy or guidance document:
Communication. A menopause policy is a useful tool to communicate with employees and provide clarity. It establishes boundaries and best practice outlining what employees can expect from their employer and equally the behaviours an employer expects from employees around menopause in the workplace.
Retention. Almost a million people have left their job due to lack of support whilst working through menopause in the workplace so the risk for business is huge in terms of loss of talent, knowledge and experience. A menopause policy or guidance document could help prevent the exit of valued staff alongside protecting the organisation itself.
There are plenty of menopause policy templates freely available on line but the majority follow a standard format. Rather than a quick copy and paste I’d recommend you consider the following advice too:
- Refer to ‘people’, ‘employees’ or ‘colleagues’ or use gender additive language to avoid marginalising those who don’t identify as women but will experience symptoms.
- Acknowledge the impact of menopause beyond that of the person experiencing symptoms and extend support to family, friends and colleagues too.
- Provide a comprehensive list of reasonable adjustments that recognise the needs of different role types and work locations that extend beyond the usual physical and environmental factors like access to quiet work spaces and temperature control.
- Outline how menopause related absences from work will be recorded eg exempt from Bradford factor and recognised as a long term health condition that meets the definition of disability under the UK 2010 Equality Act.
- Cross reference with other relevant internal policies and guidance documents eg hybrid working, mental health guidance, absence management policy, health passports, risk assessments, confidential discussion templates.
Ultimately remember that whilst a menopause policy will provide a framework for support it lacks value if nobody knows it exists or where to access the documen
In fact, writing your menopause policy is typically the quick and easy part – implementing an accompanying menopause in the workplace awareness programme that enhances inclusion, wellbeing and performance requires commitment, investment, and understanding.
To discuss how you can implement a menopause in the workplace initiative that will provide your people with a positive learning experience, sense of belonging and maintain momentum throughout this year and beyond contact Julie Dennis.