One in 10 women who worked during menopause quit their job because of their symptoms, according to what is believed to be the largest survey of menopausal women ever conducted in the UK.
The research, which will feature in a new Channel 4 documentary presented by Davina McCall Tonight, found that 14 percent of women have reduced hours, 14 percent are part-time, and 8 percent have not applied for a job promotion. The results are based on a survey of more than 4,000 women.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a biological stage in a woman’s life that occurs when her period stops and she reaches the end of her normal reproductive life. This is caused by the ovaries stopping the maturation of eggs and the secretion of estrogen and progesterone. It is the day when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months.
It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 – the average age for its occurrence is 51 – but about one in 100 people with menopause will go through the transition before the age of 40.
Three out of four people have symptoms: One in four can have severe symptoms that affect their daily life. For many people, symptoms last about four years, but in some cases symptoms can last longer, up to 10 years.
There are three different phases of menopause: perimenopause – the period in which a woman experiences irregular cycles of ovulation and menstruation leading to menopause and lasting up to 12 months after her last period; Menopause and Postmenopause – This begins when a woman has not gone through a period of 12 consecutive months and 1 day.
What are my legal rights in the workplace?
Studies have shown that menopausal symptoms can have a significant impact on attendance and performance in the workplace. Menopause at work is covered by some legislation to protect employees because it covers three main areas: age, gender, and health and safety.
Under the 2010 Equality Act, menopause is largely covered under three protected characteristics: age, gender and disability discrimination. It is not a specific protected property by law, but if an employee or worker is placed at a disadvantage and treated less favorably because of menopausal symptoms, this may be discrimination if it is related to one of the three protected characteristics listed above.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides for safe work, which extends to working conditions when experiencing menopausal symptoms. The law states that the employer shall, where reasonably practicable, ensure the health, safety and welfare of all at work.
If the employee or worker feels they have been placed at a disadvantage or less favorable treatment, they may be able to file a case with the labor court.
Does the employer have a menopause policy?
They should do. The College of Occupational Medicine’s Menopause and Workplace Guidelines and Charts highlight that nearly eight out of every ten menopausal women work.
Britain’s workplace experts, AKAs, say managing the effects of menopause at work is important for both employers and their employees. They say it’s important for employers to realize that menopause and its symptoms can affect employees at any time. Recognizing this can help employees continue to do their jobs with confidence and effectiveness.
Many employers will specify their policy on their website. For example, in 2019, the Police College updated its guidelines, which were developed in collaboration with the National Police Chiefs Council, the Police Union, Unison Police Staff and the Menopause Working Group.
Includes signs and symptoms of menopause, guidance for postmenopausal women, their partners, managers, occupational health, guidance on developing strategic policy, and links to additional support, including for those who do not identify as female.
“For so long, menopause has been shrouded in stigma, we need to break the culture of silence and make sure menopausal women are treated with the dignity and support they deserve rather than expecting them to continue to. He-she.”
What if I don’t want to talk to my boss about menopause?
Even as discussions opened around topics like the menstrual cycle and endometriosis, 62 percent of women who experienced menopausal symptoms said they had an effect on them at work, according to Vodafone research last month, but 44 percent of them felt too. They are embarrassed to seek support and 33 percent said they hid their symptoms.
The NHS in England, where 77 per cent of its workforce of 1.3 million women and nearly 50 per cent of the working population are women between 45 and 64 years old, recommends raising awareness of what menopause is and its impact. You have in the working life of women is the key to educate the entire organization, in order to best support colleagues.
Acas says employers should make sure they have training for their managers to talk about menopause so they know how to have conversations with all employees about menopause and find out what support is available for women, among other reasons.
If employees affected by menopause want this, employers must also give them the option of speaking with someone other than their manager. This would help employees who may not feel comfortable approaching their line manager first to talk about how menopause has affected them.
The employer must make sure that this person – such as a human resources representative or a trade union representative – has all the knowledge and training needed to handle menopausal conversations.
What else can be done?
Some employers have a “symptom list” that can be used to explore personal symptoms or as part of a 1:1 with your line manager to plan support. This can include where symptoms occur (home/work), their severity, and how frequently symptoms occur. There could also be a list of adjustments that can be made to help the employee, such as flexible work, proximity to a window or fan, and access to fresh drinking water and quiet areas. Acas has a code of practice regarding flexible working.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Let’s Talk Menopause resource provides managers with tools on how to effectively support menopausal women at work.
Recognizing that sick staff absences were often associated with menopausal symptoms, Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust committed to developing and implementing a menopause strategy so that all staff going through menopause are supported. Since the strategy was launched, referrals to occupational health now include menopause and stress/anxiety, and the employee’s age is considered at triage to give employees the right support.
How do I know if I have been discriminated against?
The distinction may be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when an employee is treated less favorably because of a protected property, so in the case of menopause, it can relate to gender or age.
Indirect discrimination occurs when there is a policy that is applied the same way to everyone, but harms a group of people who share a protected property, and you are disadvantaged as part of that group. If this occurs, the person or organization applying the policy must demonstrate a valid reason for doing so.
Therefore, even if a neutral policy (for example, flexible working) is implemented across the organisation, some women may be seen to be at a disadvantage compared to men.