June 12, 2023

Menopause Set to Be Next Frontier in Workplace Accommodations

A growing awareness of the seriousness of menopause is forcing employers to evaluate how they help accommodate women who are entering it, the New York Times reports. While still too often treated as a taboo subject, even by physicians, more and more women are speaking frankly about the condition and how it affects their lives, including their employment.

As the Times reports, things are beginning to change at large national and multinational corporations, thanks in large part to a movement taking off in England. There, companies like HSBC and Unilever are now certified as “menopause-friendly” by a training firm in England. But the conversation has gone beyond these types of voluntary certification with parliament debating how the national government can create more comprehensive guidance and policies for employers.

This momentum is influencing workers in the United States, which so far lags behind England. Recently, New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has stated that the city must break the stigma of menopause and build better policies and accommodations for workers in the city.

Adams, and other politicians like him, are riding a wave of celebrities and entrepreneurs who are bringing honest discussions of menopause into the mainstream, often highlighting the economic effects menopause has, with one study from the Mayo Clinic estimating that menopause has cost employers nearly $2 billion in lost productivity. Others have estimated the costs could be as great as $1 trillion. Many women report having had to take time off of work to deal with symptoms

Changes remain in their infancy, however, and large-scale changes to employment policies will require concerted efforts by activists, workers, policy makers and politicians, but the conversation has at least started.

Read the New York Times' article here.

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