Labour will force bosses to boost menopause support for women in bid to smash 'stigma'
Labour will force all large companies to bring in a menopause workplace policy in a bid to smash the "stigma" women face during the transition, the party has announced.
Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler is set to tell Labour's conference - which kicks off in Brighton on Saturday - that firms with more than 250 workers will have to offer training for line managers and ensure their working practices cater for women going through the menopause.
The menopause - typically experienced by women between 45 and 55 years of age - can lead to a host of symptoms including hot flushes, low mood and memory problems that the NHS says can have a "severe" impact on day-to-day life.
Under Labour's plans, companies would have to treat the menopause as "a long-term fluctuating health condition" and carry out risk assessments to ensure the working environment will not make the transition worse.
The party says the move could see employers required to bring in ventilation facilities, better access to cold water and more flexibility over their working hours if their sleep is disrupted.
Ms Butler said: "This bold policy will support women experiencing the symptoms of menopause in the workplace. Together we must end the stigma and ensure that no woman is put at a disadvantage, from menstruation to menopause.
"This forms part of our plans for a workplace revolution under the next Labour government to secure equality at work. By delivering policies like this through a stand-alone Women and Equalities department, Labour will put equality right at the heart of government.”
The vow comes after a survey by human resources body the CIPD found that three out of five (59%) women with menopausal symptoms said the condition had had a negative impact on their working lives.
According to the group, nearly a third of women surveyed (30%) had taken sick leave because of their symptoms - but only a quarter felt able to tell their managers about the real reason for their time off work.