Businesses are failing to deal with menopause effectively, with new data revealing that only 13 per cent of firms that had a high representation of women in their workforce had a menopausal policy.
The research commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell found that despite it being widely accepted that the effects of the menopause can be debilitating for a woman’s physical and psychological wellbeing, only one in five employers consider menopausal symptoms during the performance reviews of female staff.
Lawyers warn that this lack of action is adding to the current skills shortage, making it more difficult to attract new employees. Businesses also face costly discrimination claims by not recognising the huge impact the menopause has on a woman’s confidence in the workplace, leading to periods of absence and, in some cases, resignations.
“These are disappointing results and when you consider menopause is an issue affecting the fastest-growing demographic in the UK, namely women aged 50-64, it’s clear businesses must do more”, employment law partner at Irwin Mitchell Jenny Arrowsmith said.
She said establishing a menopause policy was a “simple and valuable starting point”, ultimately limiting the need for employment tribunal cases.
The report follows a survey by renowned GP and menopause specialist Dr Louise Newson.
Her research last year found that 99 per cent of respondents said their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms had led to a negative impact on their careers, with more than a third calling the impact ‘significant’.
Almost 20 per cent were off more than eight weeks and half of this group resigned or took early retirement.
Commenting on Irwin Mitchell’s research, Dr Louise Newson said she was “saddened yet unsurprised”.
“It is the responsibility of organisations to create a menopause confident environment and the evidence suggests that those who do, retain talent and empower both their female and male employees”, she stated.