Menopause and Work Why the menopause is a workplace issue Fiona Roberts Regional Womens Officer South East Region Women in the Workplace 51% of population in the UK is female 71% women in UK are working 48% of the workforce are women in UK 3.5 million women over 50 employed in the UK Number of women working at age 70 doubled in last four years (UK) (DWP 2017) Research findings
In the UK how many women are An estimated million currently going 13 through or have women in the the menopause? UK (around 1 reached in 3) are currently going through or have reached the
menopause. How many women will 8 out of 10 women will experience noticeable experience noticeable symptoms? symptoms. flip flip What percentage of women will 45%
of women will find their find their symptoms hard to symptoms hard to deal with. deal with? Are women in your workplace Almost definitely, yes! All
affected by the menopause? women in your workplace will be or have been affected by the menopause at some point in their lives. flip flip % ? 88%
Definitions Menopause The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Menopause is the time when there have been no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months Definitions Peri-menopause: The peri-menopause describes a period of time of significant hormonal change which leads up to the menopause. The perimenopause can often last for four to five years although for some women it may continue for many more years or for others last just a few
months. The duration of the peri-menopause varies greatly. Definitions Post- menopause After a woman has not had a period for a year, she can be described as post menopausal. Symptoms can last around 4 year after your last period, although some women will experience them for longer. What are the symptoms? Hot flushes, increased sweating and low moods are just some of the many symptoms of the menopause. Which symptoms do you think are possible in the menopause?
Headaches Heavy, irregular or painful periods Anxiety and/or depression Urinary problems Joint aches Sleep disturbance What are the symptoms? Hot flushes, increased sweating and low moods are just some of the many symptoms of the menopause. Which symptoms do you think are possible in the menopause? Headaches Heavy, irregular or painful periods Anxiety and/or depression Urinary problems
Joint aches Sleep disturbance What are the symptoms? Symptoms Who is affected? Most women will experience some symptoms Symptoms will be varied and all women will experience them differently. Duration and severity of symptoms will vary from woman to woman Doesnt just effect women in their fifties.
There is no male version of the menopause! When does it happen? The menopause is part of the natural ageing process for women, but it can happen at a range of ages and for several reasons Natural Early Medical or premature or surgical The menopause Some women experience usually occurs
aanmedical early naturally menopause or surgical between occurring menopause. the ages before ofThis 45the can andage happen
55.of Before 45. the menopause suddenly when begins, the ovaries there isare usually damaged a timebyofspecific hormonal treatments change called
or interventions the perimenopause. The such NHS as chemotherapy, estimates This isthat when radiotherapy around many 1women in every or surgery start
100towomen or experience a hysterectomy. will experience symptoms aand premature often lasts for fourbefore menopause to fivethe years. ageHowever, of 40. This in can
some also cases happen it cantolast women manyinmore theiryears teensoror just a few which twenties, months. is not always widely understood. Premature menopause is not talked about, and often misunderstood. However, it is more common than people realise.
Natural Early or premature Medical or surgical How long does it last? Weve looked at the various starting ages and associated symptoms. Once a woman has had her last period, how long do you think these symptoms will last? Every
is different. True orexperience False? On average, women continue to experience symptoms for no more than a year after their last period Women can continue to experience symptoms for up to 12 years after their last period Treatments Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - Combined HRT (oestrogen and progestogen) - Oestrogen-only HRT Alternative remedies Diet and lifestyle NB: seek advice from your GP if symptoms are
difficult to manage Women in the spotlight Practical considerations Little prepared less prepared about work Managing symptoms at work Can women talk to their managers Absences common Sympathy is not enough! Its a health and safety issue The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers. Under the
Act, employers are required to carry out risk assessments under the Management Regulations which should include specific risks to menopausal women if they are employed. Its an equality issue Sex discrimination Harassment Disability Sex discrimination might occur if an employer doesnt make the same
allowances for female employees going through the menopause as for male employees with other conditions. Unfortunately, some women experience harassment relating to the menopause. The menopause in itself is not a disability, but conditions arising from it may be considered a
disability under the Equality Act. Recent Case Law Employment Tribunal menopause disability Merchant v BT 2012 (1st Menopause case) Davies vs Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services 14000 +5000 Court officer, made mistake which had consequences, which though not harmful were undesirable Had reported her problems, under OH review What are the workplace factors?
In the workplace, some factors may not normally be seen as an issue, but become more problematic for someone experiencing the menopause. Which workplace issues do you think can exacerbate symptoms of the menopause? Poor ventilation and air quality Inadequate access to drinking water Inadequate or non-existent toilet/washing facilities Lack of control of temperature/light Lack of appropriate uniforms or personal protective equipment Sleep disturbance Workplace factors Lack of appropriate gender sensitive risk assessments Inflexible policies which penalise women because of their symptoms
Excessive workloads Workplace stress Lack of awareness about the menopause among manager and colleagues Lack of management training on womens health issues Negative attitudes or unsympathetic line managers/colleagues Bullying and harassment Insecure employment (e.g., fixed-term, casual or zero-hour contracts) What can employers do? Training Awareness raising Policies and procedures Points of contact and support
Secure jobs Union considerations - what can we do? Workplace campaigns/Survey/Mapping Consider negotiating a specific menopause policy Check current relevant workplace policies
Ask for training (employer) Branch meetings/ health and safety meetings Check risk assessments Encourage more women to become reps/H&S Train all stewards male and female ANY QUESTIONS?
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