Trade unions have welcomed the launch of a workplace menopause policy by British TV station Channel 4. The initiative aims to support staff who experience the sometimes-debilitating side effects of the condition.
The development comes amid a growing recognition, among unions and HR specialists, of the need for employers to accommodate women who are dealing with menopause.
Recent research by the Welsh Trade Union Congress (TUC) indicates that many women feel their managers don’t recognise the problems associated with the condition, which can be exacerbated by ignorance and misunderstanding.
It found that many women find that inflexible working arrangements make it difficult to deal with problematic symptoms. This can result in increased sick leave or women cutting their working hours, which can mean missed training and promotional opportunities and a widening gender pay gap.
The Channel 4 policy aims to create a flexible working environment to help workers manage symptoms, while also destigmatising and normalising the subject.
Roughly a third of women have either experienced menopause or are currently going through it. Approximately 80% of women will experience noticeable symptoms. While some women will cope well with the physical and emotional changes, almost half find the symptoms difficult to deal with.
Fórsa Equality Officer Geraldine O’Brien said the Channel 4 move was progressive, and should be an example to other employers. “Unions are at the forefront of the fight for equality, working hard to ensure that working women have supports in place to remain healthy and safe in the workplace,” she said.
For more information on the Wales TUC survey click HERE.