Businesses Enthusiastic To Support Women But Many Don’t Know Where To Start
A leading employment lawyer has welcomed the announcement today that there’ll be a Parliamentary enquiry into the treatment of women going through the menopause - adding that many businesses currently don’t know where to start when it comes to implementing a policy in this area.
The enquiry which is seeking written submissions by 17 September is examining if legislation goes far enough to address discrimination in this area.
There are concerns that businesses largely ignore the issues surrounding menopause and it is claimed almost one million women in the UK have left jobs as a result of symptoms.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have previously warned businesses that if they ignore the issue, a proportion of their female workforce will struggle to reach their potential for reasons entirely outside of their control. They will risk women prematurely ending their careers.
Jenny Arrowsmith, an employment partner at Irwin Mitchell who advises employers on the issues relating to menopause in the workplace, said:
Expert Opinion“We welcome this review and hope that it leads to lasting change. Menopause needs to be discussed openly as a health and work issue - and those organisations that side-line it as a 'women's issue' will lose out.
“We've seen real enthusiasm from some of our clients to change workplace attitudes towards menopause. We've recently held a series of seminars on this issue and have seen, first hand, that there's a huge appetite amongst HR practitioners to support menopausal women in their organisations and retain their skills and experience. There is good reason for this – menopausal symptoms can lead to absence, decline in performance and cause women to leave roles in which they once thrived.
“Many businesses don't know where to start. Having a menopause policy is helpful, and one of things this committee will consider, but I'd hope that the recommendations will go much further than this. It's not just about having a policy. Businesses need to understand the menopause, how it can affect women differently and put in place support mechanisms to help them flourish.”
Jenny Arrowsmith - Partner
The committee’s chair, Caroline Noakes, said: “Three in every five women are negatively affected at work as a result of the menopause. The repercussions of that are not merely individual. Excluding menopausal women from the workplace is detrimental to our economy, our society and our place on the world stage.
“Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of women in the UK are currently going through the menopause – a process that can be both physically and mentally draining – it is ignored in legislation. It is time to uncover and address this huge issue, which has been left near-invisible for far too long.”