Supporting women in the workplace
A menopause leave trial, called for by MP’s such as Carolyn Harris in Wales, would have seen employers give women in perimenopause who were struggling with their symptoms special protected leave in order to get medical help, and their symptoms under control so they can continue to work.
But this leave trial was rejected by ministers, citing concerns around discrimination and stigma. More on that here.
Whether or not you agree with the decision, there is one thing that is clear- perimenopausal and menopausal women need more support in the workplace. Physical and mental symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, crippling anxiety and brain-fog can make work life untenable for many. With a lack of support from both employers and in healthcare (for some a proper diagnosis can take years), well qualified, experienced women are often forced to leave their jobs. In fact, that number is 1 in 10.
What about work wellness programmes?
So what’s the answer? Employee wellness programmes are a great starting point. Proven to improve health and wellbeing, they offer employees access to health initiatives such as gym memberships, mental health counselling, weight loss and stop-smoking support, fitness challenges and specialist medical content such as women’s health. All paid for by the employer, who also benefits from increased staff retention, job satisfaction, and fewer sickness absence days, as well as improved productivity.
Wellness apps are an increasingly popular way to offer these ongoing programmes. Particularly in the case of menopause, they can be a lifeline for women, offering tailored menopause support for employees affected by perimenopausal symptoms, often filling the gap left by overstretched healthcare providers, from the convenience of a mobile phone. Whether it’s on demand articles and video content, or one-on-one virtual consultations with a menopause specialist, by offering these services menopausal women can have better support at work, and hugely improve their chances at staying in employment.
One such app is Peppy, which also offers support in other areas such as baby care, men’s health, and fertility. Their menopause arm, headed by menopause specialist Kathy Abernethy, is an invaluable resource for businesses wanting to support their staff at this often challenging time. App users can benefit from one-on-one consultations, chats, live events, courses, and a wealth of menopause specific content on a huge range of issues.
So have you been feeling the pressure at work whilst juggling those tricky menopausal symptoms? Does your employer provide a wellness programme? If not, it might be time to introduce them to Peppy.