HR teams are being urged to support women with menopausal symptoms.
The Minister for Employment – Mims Davies – has called on businesses to tap in to local support for low income older workers.
This is through specialist advice offered by a national network of advisors known as 50 Plus Champions.
Spread across the country, there is a dedicated team at 50 Plus Champions who are there to support employers to keep their workers over the age of 50 – including women going through menopause.
Research shows almost one in four women with serious menopause symptoms are forced to leave work.
Menopause is different for everyone
The Ministry acknowledges that symptoms of menopause vary greatly from person to person and cites research that shows those with serious menopause symptoms take an average of 32 weeks of leave from work.
Without the support of employers this limits progression and can lead to long-term unemployment.
Ms Davies said: “We know through this report, we’re losing too many talented and experienced women from our workforce far too early – and we know we can and must change it.”
“Our new and expanded DWP team of 50 Plus Champions is there to help – I urge employers to make the most of their knowledge and local links to help us retain women’s skills and expertise and support them through this transition.”
Male-centric workspaces don’t think they’re affected by menopause
Meanwhile, a quarter of employers told the health and wellness platform, Peppy, they did not think they were affected by menopause issues.
But Peppy CEO Dr. Mridula Pore warned that even male-centric workplaces need to be prepared to help menopausal staff, as their firms grow: “Even if employers are yet to be affected by menopause, it’s more than likely they will in the future and so it’s important that employers create an environment in which the menopause is openly discussed to make it easier for staff to seek help.”
Peppy also cautioned that menopause is not limited to a person’s age, and can happen at any time.
Anne Brewster is a 50 Plus Champion for North Lincolnshire. She said: “Work is good for our health, it is a pity to lose good staff without perhaps knowing the reason why or what can be done to keep them.”
She added: “If an employer comes to me, I can help them retain these talented people and together we can face up to this challenge.”
Case study of support for menopausal colleagues
Ms Davies said it was important that companies were educated about the issues surrounding menopause: “Employers and sectors with better support and clearer understanding are able to keep female talent and boost inclusivity.”
One company that has already started supporting colleagues is the Openwork Partnership – one of the country’s largest and longest established financial advice and investment networks.
The firm is adapting their offices to provide a safe and comfortable space for colleagues dealing with menopause.
It’s also training employees to better understand how to help colleagues who might be coping with symptoms.
Labour market figures released last week showed that the amount of over 50s on payrolls had climbed by almost a quarter of a million compared to a year ago. However, the amount of women in work is still consistently behind men for every year after 50.
Earlier this year in July, the Minister for Employment commissioned an independent report from leading employer organisations on the issue of the menopause and the workplace.
The government will be responding to their recommendations in the coming months.