Menopausal women can receive paid time off and work environments with temperature-controlled areas in work plans to support women’s well-being in the workplace.
About one in 10 women aged 45 to 55 left their jobs in the past year due to their symptoms and ultimately lack of support in the workplace, according to research supported by the Fawcett Society.
In an effort to support women staying in or returning to the workforce, the Labor Party has pledged to require large companies to publish and implement a “menopause action plan” that sets out how they are supporting their employees with menopausal symptoms. .
The party plans to release government guidance advising employers on the best ways to help their employees. Working women can also receive changes to their uniform to help manage menopausal symptoms.
Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, said the policy was a “simple and effective way” to “improve productivity, keep more people working and ultimately make our economy grow for all.” Anneliese Dodds, shadow secretary for women and equality, hailed the move as a “vital step forward” as conservatives “leave the field in support of women”.
Employers will be required to submit their action plans to an existing government portal used for gender pay gap reporting.
Starmer’s plans go a step further than those laid out under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019. Three years ago, the Labor Party offered women flexible working hours and a requirement that employers treat menopause as a fluctuating health condition of long term.
Other changes suggested at the time included training managers on how menopause can affect women and what assistance they may need, as well as workplace facilities such as access to ventilation and cold water facilities.
Rayner, who also serves as future labor secretary, said: “Everyone must be supported to thrive at work. But often women going through menopause are being let down. Under the conservatives, the number of women leaving the workforce is rising and productivity is falling, as those who remain working are not getting the support they need. This is bad for women, bad for business and bad for our economy.”
She continued: “I know from working with so many incredible women how difficult it is to work every day while battling severe symptoms including depression, joint pain and extreme fatigue. It happens in every workplace, but too often women suffer in silence.
“Based on our new deal for workers, the next Labor government will help employers support the well-being of their female workers, and our proposals are a simple and effective way to do this. We want to work with businesses and unions to bring practical solutions like this to improve productivity, keep more people working and ultimately grow our economy for all.”
Dodds said: “Women in their 50s are the fastest growing group in the workforce, but they face significant pressures, and many are managing menopausal symptoms while holding down a job, caring for aging parents and supporting their own children. .
“The work will ensure these women are heard and supported during what can be a challenging time in their lives.”
NHS England has offered employees going through menopause the ability to work flexibly if required.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, urged other employers to follow suit to help “break the stigma”.