For all the women working with a fan running year-round while others are bundled up in sweaters and jackets, there is cause for a small celebration! Groundbreaking policy changes are being negotiated with London’s unions that could be a game-changer for menopausal employees.
According to a recent post in Reasons to be Cheerful, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has spearheaded a shift in public policy that supports working women going through menopause with training for managers, paid time off, and greater awareness of the symptoms many women experience during “the change”. Too often women who are in perimenopause and menopause are forced to leave their jobs or take a step backwards due to symptoms that interfere with work.
In addition to hot flashes, menopause can also cause significant sleep disruptions, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. According to recent U.K. surveys, 59 percent of working women are in the 45 to 55 age group. The average age of menopause is 51. Women over 50 are the fastest growing segment of Britain’s workforce. But symptoms of menopause lead nearly a quarter of these women to consider leaving their jobs and 11 percent to abandon opportunities for advancement.
In the private sector, several companies including HSBC bank, Auto Trader, Vodafone and Channel 4 have also adopted policies that provide training for staff along with paid leave for women to receive medical treatment or to manage symptoms of menopause. These policy changes have been well received by women who report feeling supported by their employer with more inclusivity and understanding about how menopause may affect performance and well-being.
Despite these encouraging new policies, most workplaces still do not offer any support for women in menopause. Getting a proper medical diagnosis and working with a doctor can help women transition through menopause with greatly reduced symptoms allowing them to remain in their jobs and competitive as long as they wish. Businesses that want more information about supporting employees in menopause can visit The Latte Lounge, a virtual coffee shop for women over 40 which also offers tips for workplace management.