As we move further into 2023, many company leaders are likely reflecting on the past year and reevaluating their HR strategy—especially in terms of their company policies and employee handbooks.
Recent global events have increased the need for important HR policies like COVID-19 leave, work-from-home or flexible work policies, further-reaching parental leave guidance, and diversity and inclusion protections like The Crown Act. But most companies are still lagging behind on a number of important employee health and wellness policies.
Today, we’ll tackle one very important workplace guidance: a menopause policy. We’ll cover what a menopause policy is, why it’s important, and how companies can implement one successfully.
Menopause in the Workplace
Women of menopausal age make up the fastest-growing demographic of the UK workforce. Traditionally, those going through menopause have faced a lack of support, awareness, and inclusivity in the workplace, leading to 1 in 4 considering leaving their job due to symptoms of menopause. Menopause at work is challenging as is—let alone when women don’t feel supported by their employers
Many employers think that menopause support is covered by their employer assistance program, EAP, or employee healthcare. But EAPs are shockingly underutilised, and even when used, they often end up recommending women to obstetricians – gynaecologists who on average only have 1 hour of menopause training. In fact, a staggering 41% of UK medical schools did not have a mandatory menopause education program for their students. This means some doctors may leave university with no education in menopause at all.
Employer assistance programs and basic employee healthcare simply aren’t enough, and employers need to go further with menopause support. Enter a workplace menopause policy.
Menopause Policy Guidance for Human Resources Professionals
As both gender-specific health and wellbeing and equality and diversity needs are becoming a higher priority for employers, it has become increasingly important for organisations to ensure they are supporting everyone at every life stage, including menopause.
By implementing a menopause policy at work, you can help to ensure that all employees feel supported by both the organisation and their colleagues during this potentially challenging time and that these individuals are treated fairly in the workplace.
Why Should Employers Implement a Menopause Policy?
An employer menopause policy should be designed to empower people to ask for workplace adjustments or put in a flexible working request to help manage their symptoms and to enable open conversations between all employees, managers, HR teams, and leaders.
What Should Be Included in a Menopause Policy?
Every company is different, but a few things to include in any menopause policy are:
- Relevant local leave, discrimination, and employment laws
- A list of available menopause support for employees
- All possible flexible working arrangements
- Points of contact for employees
- Educational resources for both menopausal and non-menopausal employees
As companies think about what policies to implement this year and beyond, they need to be both strategic and empathetic with their human resource planning. Implementing a menopause policy for their employees is a great first step.