Call for firms to support menopausal women
The menopause is an important occupational health issue, the TUC has said, and is calling on employers to provide more support at work. The union body says there are 3.5 million women over the age of 50 currently in work. This week it published new guidance on how employers and union reps can work together to support women through the menopause at work. The TUC believes that employers need to recognise that women of menopausal age may need extra consideration, as changes during the menopause can affect how a woman does her work, and her relationship with her boss and colleagues. Menopausal women can experience hot flushes, headaches, tiredness, sweating, anxiety attacks and an increase in stress levels. High workplace temperatures, poor ventilation, poor or non-existent rest or toilet facilities, or a lack of access to cold drinking water at work can make all of these symptoms worse, says the TUC. Its guide says risk assessments should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure working environment factors, like inadequate control over temperature and ventilation, will not make their symptoms worse. The assessments should also address welfare issues such as toilet facilities and access to cold water. The TUC guidance is drawn from the experience of union health and safety representatives and new research published by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Despite the increasingly large number of older women in employment, the menopause is rarely seen as a workplace issue.' He added: 'The health of women in later years depends very much on their health when they are working through the menopause, and this report shows employers and unions can work together to do much more to protect them.'
Issued: 11 March, 2011