47.1 This policy sets out the rights of employees experiencing menopausal symptoms and explains the support available to them.
What is the menopause
47.2 The menopause is a natural event in most women’s lives during which they stop having periods and experience hormonal changes such as a decrease in oestrogen levels. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and typically lasts between four and eight years. However, each woman’s experience will differ, and menopausal symptoms can occasionally begin before the age of 40. Perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause. Women may start to experience menopausal symptoms during the final two years of perimenopause.
47.3 While symptoms vary greatly, they commonly include:
- hot flushes;
- night sweats;
- memory loss;
- recurrent urinary tract infections;
- joint stiffness, aches and pains;
- reduced concentration; and
- heavy periods.
47.4 Each of these symptoms can affect an employee’s comfort and performance at work. The Company understands that it has a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees and therefore commits to ensuring that adjustments and additional support are available to those experiencing menopausal symptoms.
47.5 The Company aims to facilitate an open and understanding working environment.
47.6 Employees are encouraged to inform their Nursery Manager that they are experiencing menopausal symptoms at an early stage to ensure that symptoms are treated as an ongoing health issue rather than as individual instances of ill health.
47.7 Early notification will also help Nursery Managers to determine the most appropriate course of action to support an employee’s individual needs.
47.8 Employees who do not wish to discuss the issue with their Nursery Manager may find it helpful to have an initial discussion with a trusted colleague or another member of the senior management team. You can contact Saffia Bullock about this at any time.
47.9 There is support information on the Health & Wellbeing page of the Staff Area of the Bristol Childcare website, including information from:
- Menopause Matters (https://www.menopausematters.co.uk), which provides information about the menopause, menopausal symptoms and treatment options;
- the Daisy Network Charity (https://www.daisynetwork.org), which provides support for women experiencing premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency; and
- the Menopause Café (https://www.menopausecafe.net), which provides information about events where strangers gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss the menopause.
47.10 The Company strives to achieve a comfortable working temperature for employees. The dress code has been designed to be flexible so that you can wear what is comfortable for you under your tabard.
47.11 The Company recognises that difficulty sleeping is a common symptom of the menopause.
47.12 To reflect this, as well as the impact of other common symptoms, the company aims to facilitate flexible working wherever possible.
47.13 Requests for flexible working could include asking for:
- a change to the pattern of hours worked;
- permission to perform work from home (where appropriate for the role);
- a reduction in working hours; or
- more frequent breaks.
47.14 Applications should be made in accordance with Policy 31 in this Staff Handbook. Depending on the circumstances, requests may be approved on a permanent or temporary basis.