New standards for menopause and menstruation support have been launched to help women at work.
Published by the British Standards Institute (BSI), the guidance sets out good practice examples for employers, providing recommendations for workplace culture, policies, physical environment and work design.
Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace standard (BS30416) proposes that training is offered to HR professionals and line managers, and that there are opportunities for women to have open conversations or to ask for support.
Anne Hayes, director of sectors at BSI, said: “I am proud BSI is publishing this landmark guidance on Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace, to help employers retain talented people whatever stage of life they are in. Organisations which prioritise their people by building an inclusive workplace will be best placed to continue to thrive in the future.”
“There is no one-size-fits-all experience of menopause, but the data suggests thousands of women are leaving the workforce at this stage, contributing to significant productivity losses, robbing organizations of talented people, and removing mentors who can draw on their experience to support newer members of staff. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
BS30416 was developed after consultations with both experts and the public to help businesses recognise the impact of the menopause taboo can have in the workplace, as well as identify general misconceptions around the issue.
Hayes added: “Many employers want to better support people experiencing menstruation and menopause, but they may face a lack of knowledge of how to do so. The recommendations are designed to address some of the broad challenges and offer practical adjustments to help all colleagues continue to feel valued, motivated and able to remain in the workforce for longer.”
The creation of the standard follows research from the Fawcett Society which indicated that around 10% of employees experiencing menopause symptoms have left work because of them, rising to 25% among those with more severe symptoms.
Helen Tomlinson, menopause employment champion for the UK Government, said: “I am truly delighted that the BSI has produced the Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace standard, recognising the challenges, symptoms and experiences of both menopause and menstrual health and how these can affect women in the workplace. It’s a free resource for any organisation, large or small across all sectors, to be able to utilise. This will go a long way to ensure that everyone can receive the support they need at this critical time.
“I firmly believe this transition isn’t a time to step back, step down or step out. If we get this right for 50% of the population that we need in the workplace from an economic and experience perspective it has the potential to make the final 10, 15 or 20 years of a woman’s career the most productive, exciting and meaningful.”
Deborah Garlick, CEO of Henpicked: Menopause In The Workplace, commented: “We were very pleased to be included and acknowledged as part of the working group that shaped these standards which align completely with our Menopause Friendly Accreditation. We welcome the clarity these guidelines bring regarding what employers should be aiming to achieve in terms of supporting their employees to enjoy good menstrual and menopause health in the workplace.”