Women over 50 are one of the fastest growing demographics in the workplace. However, a significant number report that they have either already left, or have considered leaving, their jobs due to the menopause. The Menopause Workplace Pledge is part of a campaign by Wellbeing of Women. Those employers who have signed the pledge (more than 600) have recognised menopause as a workplace issue and agree that employees should be receiving support. These employers have committed to open, respectful and positive workplace dialogue, and to actively support employees affected by menopause.
Wellbeing of Women has confirmed that signatories have already taken steps to implement the pledge, including updating uniforms, running awareness campaigns and offering menopause-specific healthcare provisions.
Organisations that have signed the pledge include:
- Royal Mail
- News UK
- John Lewis & Partners
One of the latest organisations to sign the pledge, Royal Mail, has launched numerous initiatives such as an internal campaign for normalising conversations about menopause and new menopause training. Tesco has plans to incorporate a breathable fabric into its uniform to help with hot flushes and News UK has promised to provide desk fans and cover the cost of NHS HRT prescriptions.
It has been revealed in a YouGov poll of 1,025 HR professionals that 72% of employers do not have a menopause policy in place and that only 16% of employers carry out training for line managers on the menopause. When asked why they had not trained line managers, 44% of employers said that they had not thought about it, 15% concluded that it was not a priority for them and 7% blamed sensitivities and embarrassment about menopause.
To be effective, the pledge must go beyond a written policy and see employers authentically implementing it in practice. They must alter their culture and become a place where these conversations are actively encouraged and where employees feel supported. Employers also need to ensure that the initiatives they introduce work for their organisation: different approaches will be needed to cater for the roles their staff carry out and their specific work environment. By creating a culture of listening and openness, organisations can work with their employees to create positive lasting change. Educating the workforce is also a crucial part of this pledge, as people at all levels of the organisation should be aware of the challenges people may face in connection with menopause.
We are increasingly seeing market-leading employers looking to educate themselves and their staff on various issues that can affect their workforce. Menopause is an important issue that affects so many people that it is clear why it has remained high on the agenda recently. This move is part of a broader trend towards understanding the needs of a diverse workforce and recognising the individual and business benefits of providing the right support, training and policies for a positive and inclusive culture to flourish.