Transport and distribution businesses will continue to lose skilled workers if they continue to disregard the significance of how menopause symptoms such as joint pain, hot flushes, memory loss, fatigue and anxiety can dramatically impact performance in the workplace.
The urgent wake-up call from employment law specialists at Irwin Mitchell follows a menopause survey they commissioned with YouGov which found that six out of 10 organisations in the sector which were surveyed don’t currently have a menopause policy.
The study of 79 HR decision-makers working across businesses in the distribution sector found that only 35% of employers consider menopausal symptoms during the performance reviews of female staff. This is despite it being widely accepted that the effects of the menopause can be debilitating for a woman’s physical and psychological well-being. Symptoms have a huge impact on a women’s confidence in work, lead to periods of absence or even resignations. The survey also found that 63% of organisations in the sector which were surveyed don’t currently have a menopause policy.
According to Irwin Mitchell, not only is this lack of action compounding the current skills shortage by forcing women out of their careers, it will make it more difficult to attract new employees. Lawyers also warn that it could result in businesses facing costly discrimination claims in the future.
“These are disappointing results and when you consider that menopause is an issue which affects the fastest-growing demographic in the UK, namely women aged 50-64, it’s clear businesses must do more,” commented Jenny Arrowsmith, an employment law partner at Irwin Mitchell (pictured left). “It’s about time that menopause is openly discussed as a health and work issue and for employers to demonstrate that they take it seriously. Establishing a menopause policy is a simple and valuable starting point.
“Not only does a menopause policy help to promote positive change within an organisation, it sets a framework for evidencing how the organisation will approach conversations about the menopause, what support affected employees can expect to receive and where they can access additional help. In doing so, it reduces the risk of costly disputes.
“There has been a significant rise in the number of employment tribunals where menopause is mentioned over the past two to three years and as awareness of this issue grows, we expect to see complaints increase further. Our survey demonstrates that there is a considerable amount of work still to do.”