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Usdaw welcomes Labour's commitment to support workers going through the menopause

Date: 08 November 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s announcement by Carolyn Harris (Labour’s Deputy Leader in Wales), while meeting members at a Tesco store in Carmarthen, that a Labour Government will require large employers to introduce a menopause workplace policy to break the stigma associated with the menopause.
An Usdaw Survey of over 1,800 women members going through the menopause found that over half do not feel able to approach their managers if they experience menopause symptoms in the workplace and one in five had taken time off work related to menopause symptoms.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We very much welcome Labour’s recognition that the menopause is a workplace issue, as the proportion of older women in the workforce rises. Women make up nearly half the workforce and around 70% aged 45-59 currently work.  This trend is set to continue as retirement ages rise and the birth rate falls, so it’s an issue that will grow in importance particularly in sectors where women workers are concentrated such as retail.
 
“Symptoms of the menopause can be aggravated by working conditions, but they can also be alleviated by simple but effective adjustments to the working environment or working practices.
 
“Our survey shows that far too many women workers feel they are not able to talk to their employer about the impact the menopause is having on them at work, even though the symptoms led to a substantial number taking time off work. Usdaw is working with employers to improve the situation, but having a Labour Government that is prepared to tackle the stigma that prevents women from seeking information and support will make a real difference to the lives of millions of women workers.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
Usdaw Menopause Survey Results: 1,804 women members responded during 2018. The majority were going through the menopause (95.8%), of which 80% had been experiencing symptoms for up to 5 years, with another 20% percent still experiencing symptoms after 5 years. 54.1% do not feel able to approach their managers if they experience menopause symptoms in the workplace. 21.3% said they had taken time off work related to menopause symptoms.
 
Labour’s plan is for large employers with over 250 employees will be required to:
  • Provide training for line managers to be aware of how the menopause can affect working women and understand what adjustments may be necessary to support them;
  • Provide flexible working policies that cater for women experiencing the menopause;
  • Ensure absence procedures are flexible to accommodate menopause as a long-term fluctuating health condition;
  • Carry out risk assessments to consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure that their working environment will not make their symptoms worse.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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