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Despite being the fastest growing demographic in the workplace, menopausal women have become the forgotten workforce, with three-quarters (75%) facing daily challenges due to a lack of support from managers missing the vital signs, mistaking symptoms, and not providing flexibility according to a recent survey by employment law specialists Han Law.

The new study which spoke to over 3,000 women aged between 40 and 59, to understand menopause in the workplace, found that less than a quarter of respondents (23%) felt that their employer takes menopause seriously, despite 9 out of 10 (90%) confessing to struggling with symptoms that affect their ability to work daily – highlighting that businesses need to do more to support women at this stage in their lives.

Of those surveyed, 98% of respondents admitted to suffering from perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms, yet despite this, a shocking 85% didn’t feel comfortable talking to their employers about their daily battle. With 4 in 10 (40%) feeling they had been treated less favourably than other employees because of their menopausal symptoms.

“It’s no wonder that menopausal women often feel invisible, overlooked, forgotten, and unsupported. The fact that so many are misunderstood and embarrassed to talk to their managers is shocking.” Says Hannah Strawbridge CEO of Han Law.

“Whilst the results of our study were eye-opening, they sadly weren’t surprising and merely confirmed what we already suspected, that employers need to do more to create supportive work environments for women going through menopause.” She concluded.

When asked about symptoms, concentration (81%), anxiety (79.82%), fatigue (77.98%), and memory loss (74.94%) were cited as the worst offenders. Proving that menopause symptoms have a significant, negative impact on women’s quality of working life and performance.

“The symptoms highlighted by those who took part in the study prove that more needs to be done to support women’s wellbeing. The addition of a fan in the office or sitting people by a window really isn’t enough.”

“Flexible working has become the norm for working parents and it’s time that menopausal women were given the same consideration to help support them. Allowing employees to start later or work from home could not only make a huge difference but it could prevent them from leaving their careers.” Continued Hannah Strawbridge

When asked about support, almost three-quarters ( 71%) of those surveyed, worked for businesses that did not have a menopause policy in place, and of those that did, a mere 1 in 8 (12.5 %) felt that it had a positive impact.

“Whilst some organisations will have already taken initial, practical steps to support their employees who are going through menopause, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s not enough to simply have a policy in place. It must be brought to life, carefully implemented, and communicated to all. Employers also need to create an environment where menopause can be talked about freely without embarrassment on either side. These conversations must be normalised, not stigmatised.” Continued Strawbridge.

“Many employers, don’t know where or how to access the right support and this is why we want to offer guidance and training on how to support the female workforce as they navigate the various stages of perimenopause and menopause.”

In response to this, Han Law has developed a Menopause Advocacy service for businesses of all sizes with training that will cover all aspects of menopause, including advice on managing menopause in the workplace. Alongside this will be the rollout of a ‘Menopause Mentor’ scheme to support individuals navigating menopause and employers supporting their workforce.

The trained advisors will act as a conduit between employer and employees and will provide impartial independent advice to support the process and ensure that those struggling have someone to talk to.

“Our research has highlighted the devastating affects and daily toll that menopause can take on those dealing with it. Empathy, understanding and support is necessary to ensure that women don’t continue to exit the workforce in their droves. More can be done and employers should be supporting women and helping them to stay at work rather than hindering their ability to not only succeed but to also thrive. “

To find out more about how Han Law can help, Han Law | Employment Law Issues. Resolved (hanlawco.com)

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