Labour Party commits to support workers experiencing menopause

Angela Rayner and Anneliese Dodds announced the policy

Angela Rayner

The Labour Party has today announced policies to support workers experiencing menopausal symptoms. Announced by deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow for women and equalities secretary Annelisse Dodds, Labour’s proposals would see measures introduced to support workplace wellbeing.

Labour’s proposal follows research published by the Fawcett Society last year which found that one in ten women who worked during the menopause have left a job due to their symptoms. That same research also found that 80% of women say their employer hasn’t shared information, trained staff or put in place a menopause absence policy.

In order to begin tackling these issues, Labour has proposed requiring all employers with more than 250 staff to draw up a menopause ‘action plan’ setting out how they will help those experiencing symptoms.

Labour has said that the policy wouldn’t set out specific requirements that employers would need to introduce as part of these action plans. However, a future Labour government would provide guidance on what they should include.

Under Labour’s proposals, workers experiencing menopause could be given paid time off, the guaranteed right to work from home, permission to work flexible hours, more breaks and working environments with temperature-controlled areas.

Speaking on the proposals, Rayner said: “Everyone should be supported to thrive at work. But all too often women going through the menopause are being let down. Under the Conservatives, the number of women leaving the workforce is soaring, and productivity is plummeting as those who continue in work aren’t getting the support they need. This is bad for women, bad for business and bad for our economy.”

She continued by saying, “the next Labour government will help employers to support the wellbeing of their female workers, and our proposals are a simple and effective way to do this. We want to work with businesses and trade unions to bring about practical solutions like this to improve productivity, keep more people in work and ultimately grow our economy for all.”

Dodds made similar comments. She said: “Women in their 50s are the fastest-growing group in the workforce but they face significant pressures, and many are managing their menopause symptoms while holding down a job, caring for elderly parents and supporting their own children. Labour will ensure that these women are heard and supported through what can be a challenging time in their lives.”

The proposals have been welcomed by women’s rights organisations and trade unions.

The Trades Union Congress tweeted: “Labour’s pledge of paid time off and workplace adjustments for menopause is a good step in the right direction.” Charity Wellbeing of Women said it ‘welcomed’ the proposals.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: 70023venus2009 – Creative Commons

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