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The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

The Gender Absence Gap: How to Invest in Women in the Workplace

What is the gender absence gap, and how can organisations address it?

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Why workplace menopause leave matters

17 October 2022 3 min read

menopause leave matters

Why workplace menopause leave matters

As we’re all beginning to learn, visibility and understanding of your employee’ absence and leave is vital. Yet, one significant reason for workplace absence is one that is rarely talked about: menopause. 

A recent UK survey of nearly 4,000 women found that 59% had been forced to take time off work due to symptoms, with a staggering 99% saying they felt that menopause symptoms had negatively impacted their careers. 

What does the menopause mean for workplaces? 

While the menopause is undoubtedly a challenging time in the individual’s life, it also poses a financial challenge to businesses. Globally, the cost of menopause-related productivity losses to businesses is now thought to be up to US$150 billion a year. 

Menopausal symptoms are vast and range from memory problems to mood changes, to anxiety, to insomnia. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it’s easy to see why these can impact women’s ability to work productively during this tricky time in their lives. 

Many women may not feel comfortable talking about the menopause symptoms they’re experiencing though, which is why it’s important to be proactive as employers, to avoid it becoming a hidden problem. 

Should businesses be offering menopause leave? 

With the issue beginning to come under the spotlight, a number of companies are beginning to lead the way by introducing leave policies. The objective of this is to keep women engaged at work as they navigate this time of life, and to alleviate any additional stress they may be experiencing by worrying about their job and their ability to do it to the same standard. 

A policy like this may involve offering increased leave during menopausal years, or allowing for more flexible working hours to allow for wavering symptoms. 

menopause leave matters

It’s important to recognise that this may not be viable or appropriate for all businesses, of course. But with the percentage of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women in the workforce climbing over the years (from 27.4% in 2000, to 38.8% in 2010, and even higher by 2020), it’s vital that this issue is on your radar, even if you don’t plan to introduce an official policy. 

Why workplace menopause leave matters 

It’s not just productivity and unplanned absence related to menopause that poses an issue for businesses. It’s thought that 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs due to menopause symptoms. And as we already know, staff turnover can be a big cost to employers. 

On the other hand, offering women menopause leave could allow them to better manage their symptoms, reduce unplanned absences and potentially improve their overall job satisfaction. 

Items to consider when thinking about offering menopause leave or a menopause policy include, allowing flexible working hours, opportunities for women to work from where they find most comfortable and additional leave days throughout the year. 

If you’re concerned about the impact additional leave or absences might be having on your business, then an absence management software could improve visibility and understanding so that you can make informed decisions about offering hybrid working or enhanced leave policies. Our edays platform is adaptable, flexible and entirely customisable to your business needs. To learn more, book a demo. 

Jenni author blog
October 17, 2022

Jenni Littlehales is a marketing professional and an experienced author with a background in a wide variety of industries. Her understanding of people, wellbeing and associated challenges give a unique perspective in the evolving landscape of HR and technology.