Menopause awareness essential to retain staff

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

World Menopause Day 2022: awareness and support are essential to retain skilled workers (Credit: Getty/NickyLloyd)
World Menopause Day 2022: awareness and support are essential to retain skilled workers (Credit: Getty/NickyLloyd)

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The hospitality sector must do more to recognise how menopause can impact staff before it loses more skilled workers, according to Irwin Mitchell Solicitors partner Jenny Arrowsmith.

Raising awareness for World Menopause Day 2022 (Tuesday 18 October), Arrowsmith stated the disregarding of menopause symptoms in the workplace needed to stop and awareness should have a key part in any wellbeing strategy.

This comes as a YouGov survey, commissioned by Irwin Mitchell in February this year, revealed three quarters of hospitality businesses did not have a menopause policy in place while 86% of the 1,025 respondents did not train their line managers in relation to menopause.

Furthermore, the data also showed just one in five (19%) employers considered menopausal symptoms during performance reviews of female staff while 11% did not consider it a priority and 6% claimed sensitivities or embarrassment about the issue discouraged discussions.

Arrowsmith said: “Opening up the discussion and providing a framework for support will help promote positive change within an organisation.

Peak of their experience 

“It sets a framework for evidencing how it will approach conversations about the menopause, what support employees can expect to receive, and where they can access additional help.”

Symptoms of menopause include joint pain, hot flushes, memory loss, fatigue, and anxiety, all of which can, in some cases, dramatically impact performance at work as well as having a debilitating effect on physical and psychological wellbeing.

Arrowsmith hoped by raising awareness and encouraging employers to have open conversations about menopause in the workplace, more support options will be implemented to improve health and well-being for women in mid-life and beyond.

Furthermore, Arrowsmith added by doing this, businesses can also avoid costly disputes and retain more experienced employees.

She said: “There has been a significant rise in the number of employment tribunals where menopause is mentioned over the last two to three years and as awareness of this issue grows, we expect to see complaints increase further.

“Organisations that have woken up to the issue and are aware of the challenges women face when going through the menopause are in a much stronger place to attract and retain colleagues who are often at the peak of their experience and have many more productive years ahead of them.”

Better awareness 

While some businesses included in YouGov survey had already started to make changes, with 53% having stated they were confident women within their organisations could openly talk about menopause, just 14% said they provided information on the subject to employees and only 12% offered internal support groups.

Earlier this month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause published concluding remarks in relation to its inquiry into the impact of menopause and the case for policy reform, encouraging the Government to update and promote guidance for employers on best practice for menopause at work policies.

The group made a number of recommendations and called on Government to coordinate and support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace and help tackle the taboos surrounding the topic.

Arrowsmith said: “Menopause has moved higher up the corporate agenda over the last couple of years.

“We’re talking about it more, seeing better awareness and hearing positive stories of how businesses have extended support. World Menopause Day is a great opportunity to continue the discussion.”

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