Most UK businesses do not offer menopause support
Our research shows that over half (54%) of UK businesses do not currently have any dedicated menopause support in place within their organisation, such as practical or emotional support for employees to help them manage their symptoms and quality of life. However, an additional 21% of employers plan to provide support within the next twelve months, meaning that by the end of 2022, two thirds (67%) of UK businesses may offer some form of support. Despite this, a quarter (24%) of employers are not planning to offer any menopause support now or in the future.
More encouragingly though, 42% will be highlighting the issues surrounding menopause in the workplace for the year’s World Menopause Day (18 October).
Reasons cited for offering menopause support
According to the research undertaken amongst 504 HR decision-makers, the main reason cited for offering menopause support is because employers believe it is their duty of care and the right thing to do (29%). Other motivations include the fact that it supports the company’s brand values (19%) and helps retain staff (15%). Just eight per cent said that their competitors offer it so they need to do the same.
In practice, it can support all of these areas, and the findings may indicate that employers aren’t aware just how beneficial it can be.
The menopause movement is clearly gaining ground in the workplace but there is more to do. The workforce is evolving and becoming more multi-generational. The rate at which employers are taking up menopause support is positive, as these figures suggest. Although 24% of employers are not currently planning to support menopause in the workplace, they will need to adapt in order to compete in terms of recruitment and retention.
Types of menopause support offered
- 46% of employers offer general support for some of the symptoms (e.g. counselling / mental health/sleep supporting/anxiety, etc) that is available via other employee benefits (including EAPs)
- 39% offer general menopause support from an employee benefits provider via health and wellbeing benefits such as PMI
- 32% offer education and/or events specifically around menopause
- 29% offer dedicated menopause support from a menopause specialist healthcare professional
- 26% offer line manager training specifically around menopause
- 23% offer no specific menopause support but have other benefits that incorporate aspects of support
While it’s great that so many employers offer support, in practice it may be lacking when only 29% offer dedicated support from a menopause healthcare specialist.
Peppy warns that employers need to ensure their menopause support is holistic and not a sticking plaster for specific symptoms. For example, offering sleep therapy might go some way in supporting an employee with insomnia but may not tackle the underlying cause. Such an approach can make symptoms more difficult to manage long term, and can also lead to reduced productivity or absenteeism.
In an ideal world, employees would ask their employers to provide better support but we know that while menopause is becoming much more openly discussed, there are still taboos in the workplace. Employers should not wait to be approached by their staff – they need to lead the discussion that it is okay to have symptoms and to ask for support at work.
World Menopause Day is a good opportunity to undertake an honest appraisal of the menopause support that an organisation currently offers and review whether it could do more to improve the support they offer and to champion this issue from the top down.