Personnel Committee to consider innovative menopause policy

When it meets on Monday 24 January, committee members will consider an innovative draft menopause policy for Walsall Council employees.

By 2030, the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that 50 per cent of adults in the UK will be aged 50 or over. With more women in the workplace about to transition into perimenopause, it is more important than ever that the council knows how best to support our colleagues. Of Walsall Council’s workforce just shy of 70% are female and around 60% of the total workforce is aged between 40 and 60.

Councillor Mark Statham, cabinet member for internal services said:

“I’m really pleased to see a forward thinking policy like this being brought forward for consideration.

“Research suggests that as many as one in five women leave the workplace due to menopause. Many women, particularly those in senior roles, either suffer in silence or end up leaving their jobs. This is clearly not the best outcome for the women concerned or the council in terms of losing valuable skills and experience.

“There is more discussion about menopause now than there was say 20 years ago, but there’s no doubt that in some ways it’s still a taboo subject and this perhaps explains why, as a society, our knowledge of menopause is not what it could and should be.”

The draft policy aims to raise awareness of the menopause across the council, ensure employees and managers understand what the menopause is and how to provide support to those experiencing menopausal symptoms.

It is envisaged that the policy will help to foster a supportive environment, where employees and managers are encouraged to have open conversations about the menopause without embarrassment and fear of shame or stigma. The policy provides employees and managers with information and techniques to assist with such discussions, as well as providing information on a range of internal and external support services available.

Councillor Statham added:

“If the policy is approved, in early March new menopause champions will receive two 2 hour training sessions. For everyone else there will be an elearning package that includes a variety of speakers, relevant legislation, medics and senior leader views.”

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