Menopause is the time during a woman’s life when menstruation periods permanently stop. It is defined as occurring when the individual has experienced no periods for 12 consecutive months and no other biological or psychological cause can be identified.
The menopause (the change of life) can cause a chain reaction of physical and psychological side effects to a woman’s body. As an employer, we have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all of our employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition, the Equality Act 2010 outlines that individuals must not be discriminated against due to any form of disability and we recognise that the symptoms of the menopause may constitute a disability. We want to ensure there is appropriate support and assistance for any employee who is going through the menopause.
We aim to create an open and transparent workplace where line managers and employees can discuss any issues associated with the menopause, and to ensure the necessary support is known and offered to employees when needed.
Reporting any issues
It is important that, as an employee, you prioritise your personal health and wellbeing. If you are struggling with any aspect of your role as a result of symptoms associated with the menopause, you should report any concerns you may have to your manager, who will treat the matter with complete confidence.
Physical symptoms of the menopause can include hot flushes, insomnia, fatigue, poor concentration, headaches, skin irritation and or urinary problems.
As a result of the above, or as an extension of the hormone imbalance, individuals going through the menopause can also experience psychological difficulties, including: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, irritability, problems with memory, loss of confidence.
In order to ensure we can provide you with the best support possible we encourage you to be open and honest in these conversations.
There is an expectation on all employees to conduct themselves in a helpful and open-minded manner towards colleagues.
We maintain a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and will treat any and all complaints seriously. If you feel that you have been mistreated in any way by a colleague because of matters related to the menopause, please make your concerns known to [insert name or job title].
When responding to an employee experiencing difficulties caused by menopause, line managers will maintain an open door policy so that employees feel comfortable in approaching them. They will support you to talk openly about your current situation and will not make presumptions about how it is affecting you.
During any discussions, your line manager will consider your individual situation and evaluate if any adjustments can be made. Your individual needs will be addressed sensitively and confidentiality will be maintained.
Line managers will also arrange follow up sessions in order to evaluate the effectiveness of any adjustments put in place.
We understand that you may feel uncomfortable discussing personal information with your line manager. If this is the case you are encouraged to discuss your situation with another senior member of staff, HR or [insert details of a point of contact in place within the Company for this situation eg occupational health and/or an Employee Assistance Programme, if applicable].
In order to assist you in your daily duties, we will explore making adjustments to your role or working environment with the aim of reducing the effect that the menopause is having on you. We acknowledge that the menopause affects each individual in different ways so no adjustment will be made without fully discussing it with you first.
Examples of adjustments include:
· conducting a risk assessment to identify any particular areas that are a detriment to individuals going through the menopause
· changing the location of the employee so they are closer to toilet facilities or away from hot and cold spots around the office
· implementing further temperature control, such as access to a fan
· assessing how work is allocated and whether the employee is affected at particular points of the day
· allowing additional rest breaks
· considering flexible working hours or allowing the employee to work from home
· making allowances for additional needs for sickness absence.
Once the adjustments are agreed, they will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure they are having the required effect.
The Company is legally obliged by the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to an employee’s role or working conditions if they have a disability that places them at a disadvantage when performing their role and we will ensure compliance with our obligations in this regard.