Employers need to be supportive of those employees who may be impacted by the UK’s shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products used to treat the symptoms of menopause as the current supply issues have the potential to impact a large proportion of working women and those who were assigned female at birth.
For some employees, the shortage may mean a disruption to hormonal support as they have to cope without medication in the short term. For others, it may mean switching to a different brand or form of administering the product, which could also have an impact on hormone stability. Others may need additional time during working hours to contact their GP or local pharmacies to track down and collect a prescription supply.
Employers can start by acknowledging the problem and offer flexibility of hours to allow staff to speak to their medical practitioner and to find suitable HRT stocks, which may or may not be immediately local.
Other steps employers can take:
Liaise with partner organisations such as private GPs to see if they have access to supplies e.g. through a pharmacy partner.
Understand that in the short term, staff may need extra adjustments to manage symptoms whilst HRT is unavailable to them.
Offer information and advice on the employer’s menopause resource page or employee benefits platform. This could include guidance on accessing information to deal with hormone fluctuations, as well as medical information on suitable switches that can then be discussed with a GP.
MP Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee is absolutely right to have brought the matter to the attention of parliament this week. It is a serious issue that will undoubtedly affect the ability of many employees to sleep and work competently.
Employees will really appreciate support from their employer during this supply issue but it’s important that employers are proactive on this matter do not simply wait for staff to approach them.