University launches policy to increase dialogue around menopause

The University’s Human Resources team, in partnership with trade unions and following feedback from managers and employees, has developed a new policy to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for staff experiencing symptoms of the menopause.

Drawn up by Human Resources’ health and wellbeing team, the document goes alongside activities to raise awareness of the menopause, including a new support network. It recognises that although the menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life, it can be a challenging transition and can have an impact at work.

The new policy, approved by the University Executive Group (UEG) as part of the wider Health and Wellbeing Strategy, seeks to promote open discussion and increased understanding of the menopause, rather than it being seen as an embarrassing or taboo subject.

A key message is that this is not just an issue for women – it is something that all members of the University community should be aware of, and the way it can affect their colleagues.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) cites recent research highlighting that up to 75% of women experience menopausal symptoms, and 25% of those can be considered severe. Symptoms of menopause can be both physical and psychological and include poor concentration, headaches, panic attacks, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

The new policy outlines support in dealing with these symptoms, and sets out exactly what can be expected from colleagues, managers and the University.

Professor Bridie Kent, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences is leading the University’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. She said:

“I am really pleased to see the implementation of our menopause policy. This is an important initiative that demonstrates our commitment to taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing embedded through leadership, partnership and the way we do things, from transitions, support to early intervention and prevention.”

Colin Shipp, the University's Human Resources Director added:

"Providing an inclusive and respectful environment is integral to our culture at the University. Having a menopause policy is something that obviously makes sense, highlighting the role of leaders in supporting their team members and clarifying the support available for all staff. I want to thank the colleagues involved in working up the policy and the unions for their support.”

Julia Davy, Head of Employee Relations, Wellbeing and Inclusion said:

“This policy reflects our commitment to providing an inclusive, healthy and engaging environment where all our employees are able to thrive. Not only will women feel supported and able to access relevant information, colleagues working alongside women struggling at work with symptoms will be more aware of the challenges faced by their colleagues.”

Dr Viginia Fisher, Branch Secretary of the Universities and College Union (UCU) at the University, said:

“The significance of the menopause at work has been overlooked for too many years and yet it is both an equality issue and a health and wellbeing issue. UCU welcomes and fully supports this new initiative from the University.”

Read the new menopause policy on the occupational health pages of the University website.

For more information on the University’s work on equality, visit the website: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/about-us/university-structure/service-areas/equality-diversity-and-inclusion

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