There has been a significant change in employers’ attitudes to offering workplace menopause support this year, when compared to last year. 

The digital health platform, Peppy reports that employers are trying to understand issues faced by female employees this International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8 March).

Its research found for example, 38 percent of employers had put menopause support in place January 2022 – this was up 18 percent compared to just four months previously.

This will come as good news to MPs who had earlier said that women are missing work due to menopause symptoms. The Women and Equalities Committee had said that boorish banter was one of the reasons women felt uncomfortable talking openly about their symptoms.

Dr Mridula Pore, CEO of Peppy said: “International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women across the social, economic, cultural, and political spectrum but all too often women have had their careers curtailed because they were not supported through the menopause.

Peppy’s research also found that in September 2021, 24 percent of employers said they do not offer workplace menopause support and were not intending to do so, but this dropped to just 10 percent by January 2022.

According to the data, 29 percent of employers say they have always had menopause support in place and 17 percent are currently arranging it or planning to in the next 12 months.

Dr Pore said: “We need to build workplaces where women thrive and achieve their full potential and a key way to achieve this objective is to ensure menopause support is available to everyone who needs it. It’s really heartening that this message is very much starting to break through.” 

Retention of female staff

A fifth of employers now believe offering menopause support to be important, so that staff consider the employer to be caring.

Dr Pore warned that employers who do not take menopause support seriously, risk losing their workers: “In the past, too many women have either left their place of work, or significantly reduced their hours due to menopausal symptoms. However, these women have amassed a wealth of knowledge about the organisation in which they work and have a colossal amount of experience in their specific role – it makes good business sense for employers to do all they can to better understand how they can retain this invaluable asset.

Meanwhile, experts at the healthcare trust provider, Haelix, say it is the employers’ responsibility to be proactive in normalising these conversations by implementing clear policies for all health conditions.

They should also provide clear access to relevant information for their female employees to freely tap into as and when they need to. In this way, employees will feel much more comfortable to reach out for help before an issue takes hold.

Sally Campbell, Head of Clinical Development at Healix, said:  “The recent headlines about women leaving the workforce because of insufficient support during menopause highlights the need for female specific healthcare provisions. Women make up half the workforce, so it is imperative that workplaces offer comprehensive services tailored to them, including GP support and appropriate treatment for various conditions.”

Peppy’s the research shows that this type of support goes beyond altruism and is critical to business success.

It found:

  •  92 percent of employers think it is important for employers to offer menopause support from a retention point of view.
  •  Four in five (80 percent) of employers have concerns that their best talent could leave if they do not provide menopause support.
  •  46 percent agree that it is important to mitigate the risk of the wider workforce being impacted by the few i.e. a team being affected by a colleague having time off or not being productive.
  •  37 percent say menopause support reduces staff churn.
  •   31 percent believe that offering menopause support is key in appearing a more attractive employer against competitors

 More to be done to fully persuade senior leadership

Despite HR leaders being on board with menopause support, 35 percent reported that they think senior leadership at their organisation is more inclined to view menopause as an issue that only affects the individual without having a wider impact on the wider workforce. Consequently, 39 percent of HR leaders think that their senior leadership team do not view workplace menopause support as something that positively impacts recruitment and retention.

Dr Pore said, employers could always do more for the women who work for them:  “We congratulate every employer who has taken steps to mitigate any symptoms and issues that women experience during menopause but no organisation should rest on its laurels – there is always more to be done in terms of communication and encouraging utilisation.”

Meanwhile, Peppy’s Clinical Director of Women’s Health, Francesca Steyn will be a guest speaker at a webinar on Menopause between 10-11am today (March 8th) for International Women’s Day. The event is being hosted by Howden Wellbeing and Benefits. To register to attend click here.