Opinion

Menopause at work matters

18 March 2022

Unite-CPHVA is serious about women’s rights at work during menopause, says Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe.

Unite-CPHVA has been proactive and positive about women and the menopause by calling for a united workplace agenda for equality backed up by new legal rights to support unions in advancing a positive equality agenda. This means recognising the importance of the health and wellbeing of older women and campaigning for fairer treatment at work, including new rights for women at this time in their lives. 

The TUC published a report back in 2003, Working through the change, which found that women’s menopause symptoms are made worse by work.  This means that employers up and down the country should ensure that workplaces recognise and help women going through the menopause.

Hostile workplace attitudes to the menopause add to stress at work when a woman may be dealing with a whole range of difficult issues at home too, including lifestyle changes, concerns about health, and caring responsibilities. Negative attitudes experienced by women have included the following:

  • Criticism from managers about sick leave related to the menopause
  • Embarrassment or difficulties in discussing the menopause with employers
  • Criticism, ridicule and harassment from managers when they raise the subject
  • Pressure and lack of understanding from colleagues
  • Humiliation - such as direct comments to women accusing them of poor hygiene.

What can be done?

Menopause is not just a women’s issue but an issue for men too. They have a responsibility to know what happens to a women during menopause and support them accordingly.

Women often find the menopause difficult to talk about even though it is a natural occurrence. Unite-CPHVA wants to help members take a positive and informed attitude to the menopause in the workplace. You can:

  • Encourage your Unite-CPHVA local accredited representatives (LARs) and managers have training about the menopause
  • Become a Unite-CPHVA LAR or safety representative to use your experience as a community practitioner dealing with health issues for women and families. 
  • Check out our Unite women’s health guide, Working women: stronger together, at bit.ly/Unite_working_women 
  • Put leaflets and posters in prominent places in your workplace regarding the menopause and work
  • Talk to men (and women!) about the impact of menopause and how the workplace can be more sympathetic to women going through it.

We can all do our bit to end the hostile environment that menopause can have in the workplace and raise workplace standards for all.


Unite-CPHVA on Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination in England

Our Unite in Health guidance and frequently asked questions on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination has been published. Read it at bit.ly/mandatory_vaccination_guidance

It remains useful despite the government’s intention to revoke the regulations that were due to make double vaccinations a condition of deployment for patient-facing health and NHS staff working in CQC registered facilities from 1 April 2022 in England. 

We have a clear position of encouraging voluntary vaccination of all our members and not supporting mandatory vaccination as condition of employment.


Image credit | Shutterstock

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Unite-CPHVA is serious about women’s rights at work during menopause, says Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe.

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