The six key elements for setting up a company menopause policy

While there is no current legislation specific to dealing with menopause in the workplace, companies should be aware that the government is currently underway with studies on the impact of menopause in the workplace. Once this has been concluded it’s very likely that it will result in some form of specific legislation being implemented.

In the meantime, remember the employment act has been successfully applied to cases involving menopause. Companies that are proactive in setting up policies will be on track to creating a more inclusive and equitable working environment.

Having said that, setting up a policy and implementing it are two entirely separate challenges. Both require a level of commitment and people willing to participate. Setting up a policy is just the starting point, successful implementation will require an ongoing effort.

 

There are six key elements that will contribute to a successful policy:

  1. Engagement: An important thing to remember is that there isn’t a single best solution that’ll fit for everyone. A policy needs to be flexible enough to enable people to choose how they manage symptoms and associated work challenges. You can only find out what different stakeholders need through open conversations and engagement. A policy needs to be relevant to the needs of employees and the company and ensure that everyone gets a great learning experience.
  2. Involvement: While some people may shy away from the topic of menopause, especially if they think it doesn’t impact them, everyone needs to be included in the conversation. This is necessary to create a more inclusive workplace. Managers need to know what’s involved when dealing with menopause so that they don’t make poor decisions, just because they lack knowledge, empathy or understanding.
  3. Support: The policy needs to provide support for everyone in the company, not just the people experiencing symptoms. This means providing managers and work colleagues with information and support that’ll help them understand the situation better.
  4. Education: There are two parts to education. The first is for HR and business leaders to understand the legal requirements and implications as well as the business case for having a menopause policy as this will then inform decision making. Additionally it means having information available so that if any employee has questions, they know where they can find answers.
  5. Evaluation: It’s important to get feedback from stakeholders and evaluate if the different elements of the policy are in fact effective. There will always be room for improvement and inviting feedback is a way to find out what needs to change or what could be implemented better.
  6. Sustainability: Situations change and legislation is likely to change, which means a policy needs to be flexible enough to accommodate these changes. From a business perspective, this shouldn’t be viewed as a once off tick box, but rather a long term strategy as to create a more inclusive and equitable working environment for all employees.

 

This article serves as a brief introduction on what to think about when formulating a menopause policy and is based on one of our HRHuddle webinars with Julie Dennis – a leading menopause consultant in the UK. For more information, watch the full webinar here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tae5IJQOIh4

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