FSU Menopause Workplace Survey Key Findings

World Menopause Day is held every year on October 18th. The day was designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) and World Health organisation (WHO), to raise awareness of menopause and support options to improve health and well-being for women in mid-life and beyond. 

Throughout 2021 Financial Services Union have been doing considerable work in the area of menopause, carrying out research, writing workplace policies, and surveying our members in the sector to get their views on how the menopause has affected their working lives. What has become glaringly obvious is just how slow employers have been to recognise that women of menopausal age may need special consideration. The menopause is a natural stage of life for women, symptoms range from mild to severe, so some workers require more support than others. This can be a difficult and stressful time for workers, and in the majority of cases employers are just not dealing with the issue appropriately. It is common for those suffering in the workplace not to raise the issue with their employer as there is a fear of stigma associated with menopause. There is often a belief that symptoms are not taken seriously or highlighting a need for support may have a negative affect on performance reviews. 

The FSU menopause workplace survey (carried out in the summer of 2021), illustrates some staggering findings; 

  • 89.4% of respondents say menopause affects working life
  • Only 15% feel comfortable talking about menopause in work
  • 97.5% do not have a workplace policy and would welcome one
  • 38% say menopause is treated as a joke in their workplace
  • Only 17% say that menopause is ‘not’ treated negatively in the workplace
  • 84% are currently experiencing or likely to experience menopause

Women make up more than 50% of the workforce in Ireland & Northern Ireland, given that the age demographic in both jurisdictions is showing that an aging workforce is on the rise, it is critical to ensure safer more inclusive working conditions to also support longer working lives. 

All the organisations where FSU members were surveyed claim to have diversity and inclusion agenda’s yet lacking any support for women suffering in the workplace as a result of menopause, flies in the face of these policies and feeds into the stereotyping of older people and persistent and widespread ageism. Only 2.8% of those surveyed expressed that their employer had a policy in place and over 6,000 comments were made by members outlining how menopause affects working life, how a serious lack of support from employers and a lack of education and awareness has made working through menopause very difficult. Menopause being treated negatively in the workplace and often-times simply dismissed as a ‘joke’, has led to some women opting to go on sick leave or in some cases consider leaving work altogether. 

FSU are currently seeking employers to actively engage in the creation of robust menopause workplace policies and have already started negotiating with some employers in this regard. FSU will also produce a menopause workplace charter to establish good practice in this area, to offer advice and support to members and workplace reps, and to outline practical support measures for employers.

As a Union we believe that highlighting this issue and educating our members and their employers will help to remove barriers that have existed for many years in the workplace in relation to menopause and the ageism that permeates employments as a result. It is our goal to break the stigma that exists in the workplace around menopause and improve the working lives of our members.

Mandy La Combre, Senior Industrial Relations Officer

 

Menopause InfoGraphic

 

You can download the FSU Menopause Info Graphic here: https://www.fsunion.org/assets/files/pdf/menopause_info_graphic.pdf

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International Menopause Society Resourses.

For Women.

For Healthcare Professionals.