Minister for health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that work is underway to develop a workplace menopause policy.
Speaking to the Dáil earlier this month he said a number of actions on menopause are being developed by his department, including the provision of specialist supports as well as a national awareness campaign.
The policy is set to explore measures that allow work adjustments for people going through menopause, to include flexible working, guidance around sickness leave, and time off for appointments that might be needed.
The menopause has long been viewed as a private matter or exclusively as ‘a women’s issue’ and marginalised as a topic for discussion or taken into account in the design of workplaces and working practices.
A survey of almost 4,000 workers carried out by Wales TUC found that 88% of women workers who've experienced the menopause felt it has an effect on working life, while around 6 in 10 had witnessed the issue being treated as a joke in the workplace.
The survey also showed that only a very small number of workplaces have policies in place to support women who experience difficulties during the menopause.
Fórsa equality officer Ashley Connolly has welcomed the announcement citing it as progress.
“There is still much to be done to tackle the taboo around menopause, particularly in workplaces, where often women do not feel able to talk about the menopause at all,” said Ashley.
“Government and trade unions alike need to work together to drive progressive workplace health policies for women’s health,” she said.
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