The government is to appoint a new role within the Department for Work and Pensions who will work with employers on menopause workplace issues.
Government to appoint dedicated ‘menopause champion’
The job of the ‘Menopause Employment Champion’ will be to “give a voice to menopausal women” and promote their economic contribution. The person will also work with employers to keep those women in work and progressing, says the government.
Welcoming the initiative, Andy Briggs, the Government Business Champion for Older Workers and Group CEO of Phoenix Group, said: “The new appointment has a critical role in ensuring we move beyond just the ‘good employers’ adopting best practise and ensure it is recognised across all employers. As a minimum, this must include employers having a dedicated leave policy and procedures in place to support women going through the menopause.”
The step was announced in the government's response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report, 'Menopause and the workplace.'
It follows new understanding about the extent and severity of menopausal symptoms. According to a survey of 2,161 women published last year by the Women and Equalities Committee ‘most women’ experience menopause symptoms at some point in their life, which also affect them negatively at work.
‘Difficulty sleeping’ was the most common symptom, followed by problems with memory or concentration. A significant number (69 per cent) reported anxiety or depression as a symptom.
Very few women (under 11 per cent) asked for workplace adjustments, citing concern over people’s reactions or not knowing who to tell.
“Unlike pregnancy or maternity, the menopause is generally not well understood or provided for in workplace cultures, policies and training,” said Briggs.
“A quarter of working women going through the menopause consider giving up work due to the symptoms and, so far, over one million women have already left the workforce. This shows a hugely concerning pattern of intersectional discrimination.”
Menopause and the workplace: government response here
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