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Ready to discover the untapped benefits of creating menopause-friendly workplaces? Buckle up as we take you through the enlightening findings of Bank of America’s study on menopause in the workplace. We uncover the critical need for employers to address the challenges faced by women going through this life-changing phase. By ignoring this key issue, companies not only fuel gender inequality but also risk financial losses. In our deep-dive analysis, we lay bare the impact of menopause on women’s work lives, the alarming communication gap between employers and female staff, and the uncomfortable stigma surrounding discussions of menopausal symptoms at work.

What if we told you that there’s a hidden financial motive behind the creation of menopause-friendly workspaces? Hold onto your seats as we expose the financial implications of neglecting this vital issue. From the Bank of America study findings, we reveal how companies are beginning to wake up to the importance of this topic, yet we also highlight the hurdles that persist. We conclude with practical strategies for employers to foster menopause-friendly workplaces, emphasizing the power of open dialogue in dispelling misconceptions and promoting equity. This episode is a must for those committed to creating an inclusive workplace.

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Speaker 1: Hey, it’s Mark here and welcome to the next edition of this podcast. Today we’re talking about menopause-friendly workplaces. The next frontier in the expansion of employment rights is the area of Perry and post-menopause. On June 1, 2023, bank of America published a study entitled Breakthrough the Stigma Menopause in the Workplace. The report surveyed 2,000 female workers and 500 benefit managers on menopause and its impacts in the workplace. The study concluded employers need to embrace this important employment issue and provide more benefits for women experiencing Perry and post-menopause, regardless of what state and federal law provides. In 2021,. The Mayo Clinic estimated that about 10% of women working in America ages 45 to 60, had taken time off in the last year in the United States because of menopause symptoms, costing employers about $1.8 billion. In addition, the Mayo Clinic also estimated an increased cost of medical care in the amount of $26.6 billion related to menopause. There should be an expansion in employment rights for women going through this period of life, beyond what the courts and federal and state law have already provided age and sex discrimination to be specific, employers need to create a menopause-friendly workplace and not wait for the law to catch up to the current events. The percentage of working women in the US who currently experiencing Perry and post-menopause has skyrocketed to the point that today, employers realize they need to implement changes in the work environment to accommodate this important group of employees or else risk them quitting. According to the US Census data, there are more than 15 million working women ages 45 to 60 in the Perry and post-menopause phase of life, and employers are increasingly responding to their needs as a cohort which is primarily driven by profit needs. Claire Gill, founder of National Menopause Foundation, stated quote women should not be embarrassed about the menopausal symptoms they experience or fear being discriminated against in the workplace because of them. End quote. You can read about the 34 symptoms of menopause in a link provided in the show notes. There is a great website called for the American Menopause Society. It’s called menopauseorgorg.

Speaker 1: The Bank of America studies findings in a snapshot. The BOA study revealed significant findings about the perception of a need for menopause-specific benefits in the workplace. Key highlights from the report are as follows. Number one impact on work life. Half of the Perry and post-menopause women surveyed reported that menopause negatively impacted their work life. Despite this, only 14% believe their employers recognized the need for menopause-specific benefits.

Speaker 1: Two communication gap. There is a notable disconnect between employers and female employees. While 76% of HR benefit managers claim to discuss menopause with their employees, only 3% of female employees reported having such having this conversation with HR. Moreover, 71% of employers believe they have a positive company culture regarding menopause, but only 32% of women employees agree. Gee, that’s disparaging in terms of the difference. About the statistics Employers are just. They’re just a tome deaf, I guess.

Speaker 1: Number three desire for menopause specific benefits. Approximately 64% of women expressed a desire for menopause specific benefits. These benefits can significantly impact the workplace environment, with 58% of women reporting a positive impact on their work when such benefits are offered Makes sense. This includes making them feel more comfortable discussing menopause at work and increasing their inclination to recommend for employers a great place to work. Duh, that makes sense. Employers can provide their employers employees access to menopause treatments, such as providing virtual appointments to receive menopause care through companies such as Maven Midday and Pepe Health. I’ll put links in the show notes so you can go through the links to find those companies. Nvidia, one of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley, an employer with an estimated 13,000 employees, now offers employees access to Pepe Health. Based on the success they had with their company’s British offices, bristol-mirror Scrib has begun setting up a menopause support internet network for its US-based employees. Other companies now offer menopause friendly workplaces, include Bank of America, which is the author of the study, and Adobe and Genethtech.

Speaker 1: Number four stigma and discomfort. The majority of women 6% feel that menopause is stigmatized and 58% are uncomfortable discussing their menopausal symptoms at work. I don’t doubt them and I think that that’s probably an accurate number given the current culture of work these days. Common concerns include fear of being perceived as old 32%. Embarrassment about discussing their bodies 28%. It’s probably, I expect to be a higher number for that one. Not wanting to be treated differently 23%. In fear of losing respect for male peers 18%. I thought that number would be higher as well, but that’s 18% Now.

Speaker 1: Creating a menopause friendly work environment. Employers should implement a menopause policy that creates or clearly lays out what support employees can expect to receive during menopause. The policy should ensure that all employees understand the workplace adjustments and support systems are available to them so they feel empowered to ask questions. Such menopause friendly benefits can include flexibility of work from home arrangements, which is kind of a new normal these days. Shorter work weeks, which is actually even a new or normal. A four day work week. Access to fans in a good ventilation, inability to control office temperature, clean facilities, tampons and pads in the bathroom, in a quiet rest area. Employers can also develop office dialogue about menopause and encourage all employees to embrace this major life circumstance for working women.

Speaker 1: Cynthia Hutchins, the director of financial gerontology at Bank of America, stated quote creating an open dialogue on menopause and the workplace is an imperative to correcting any misconceptions about women experiencing this life stage. Note they offer they call it life stage instead of a medical issue. Well, that’s another podcast episode. It can start with something as foundational as creating a policy about menopause and then communicate, communicate and communicate. Just hearing menopause talked about in the workplace can go a long way towards creating a more positive work environment for all. End quote Managers must be prepared to talk the talk.

Speaker 1: According to the website PEPI, the following suggestions are recommended when a manager wants to have a conversation with an employee about menopause. Number one ask simple, one, non-judgmental questions. Avoid judgmental and patronizing responses. Speak calmly. Maintain good eye contact. Give the employee ample opportunity to explain the situation in their own words. Focus on the person, not the problem. Show empathy and understanding. Encourage the employee to talk and then, finally, listen actively and carefully All good thoughts and suggestions for having an open discourse in the office environment and creating a nice, menopause friendly working environment.

Speaker 1: The federal agency, eoc, has not issued guidance on menopause. I was researching this while attending a menopause-related webcast and I reported back into the common notes for the seminar I was attending that the EOC. I said. Research on the EOC website for the term quote unquote menopause revealed no hits or information for employees and employers. The EOC is the quote. The federal agency charged with enforcing employment statutes has yet to issue any guidance on menopause-friendly workplaces, unlike the United Kingdom which has, and I’ll indicate a show note, for the United Kingdom, which is really at the forefront of this entire menopause-friendly workplace movement, is just leading across the board, providing such a different workspace that US employers are just chasing behind.

Speaker 1: Menopause discrimination is significant, yet unprotected. Many women experience menopause discrimination, often stemming from a lack of awareness and understanding among employers and colleagues. The experiences and surveys highlight the challenges faced by women going through menopause at work. Many women experience changes in mood, concentration and other symptoms affecting their work performance during menopause. However, due to societal stigmas and misconceptions about menopause even among women themselves, which I actually found out when I was attending that seminar. You’d be surprised, actually, how many women don’t understand menopause. These symptoms are often not openly discussed or supported in the workplace. This leads to discrimination of fear, of ageism and sex discrimination. There are very few court cases because I looked it up so I am curious and thought you’d want to know Covering menopause discrimination. State and federal laws do not specifically protect women against this uniquely female form of employment discrimination. Obviously, men doesn’t apply to you.

Speaker 1: Women who have brought legal cases that reveal their employers are referred to employees such as Lee sorry, the menopausal one, it was written in Spanish, I apologize or to an employee working in a building as the menopause manor. These two cases were dismissed due to their stray remark bases not rising to the level of being sex discrimination or age discrimination. However, in another case the employer stated quote just some black woman going through menopause. End quote was enough to decide the case in favor of the employee experiencing menopause and I’ll put the link to that case so you can read it. So, year 2000 case from the federal court in the District of Columbia. In a famous case, coleman versus Bobby Dodd Institute Inc. The lower court ruled in favor of the employer who fired a female employee who get this soiled company property due to a heavy erratic menstruation related to perimenopause. In a recent 2015 decision and it’s called Missize versus Croix-Rath Swain-and-Mort, a very large, prominent law firm from New York the New York federal court said the court held a supervisor’s statement that he was quote tired of working with menopausal women. End quote was not enough to save a female employee’s age and sex discrimination claim, even though it was connected to the context of their termination.

Speaker 1: I think that last one just says it all in terms of the status of where we’re at today that the courts are just completely lagging behind any efforts to provide protection for women above and beyond the aspect of sex discrimination or gender under Title VII and 64 Civil Rights Act or under the Age Discrimination Employment Act and kind of buttressing those two statues together to create some form of protection for individuals or women who go through menopause and experiencing discriminatory stigma and bias at work. So it’s although there’s a lot of movement and a lot of FEM tech companies getting into the movement, a lot of buzz in the air and you can read about it in the papers a lot of times the law is just so antiquated so far FEM behind the whole process that it will take probably another decade for something to actually happen. But, as you can hear from the article and from the podcast episode that the employers not waiting around for the courts to do something to push them or require them to do anything, because they realize that women in the age group of comparing menopause to menopause most menopause are in the control group that basically employers need. They’re the people who make these companies in the US run and make money. That’s a pretty large population and it’s what attracted my attention to this episode topic.

Speaker 1: I’ve done one episode earlier, but this is really the driving force. It’s I hate to be you know how I do this, but I you know a buzzkill here but they’re not doing it for women to make them feel good about it. They’re doing it because of the bottom line. I know this sounds really harsh, but that’s why they’re doing it. They’re not doing it because they wanna feel soft and fuzzy about the topic for women going through this process. It’s about money, because there’s a large percentage of employees out there going through this age group, experiencing these situations and you know they’re very vital and important to companies. So that is why companies are doing this. I just don’t wanna. I don’t wanna color it in any way other than that. That’s what attracted me to this. The topic was because of the enormity of the 15 million employees out there. That’s not a small population just to disregard, so that’s why companies are now catering to them. So there you have it.

Speaker 1: In terms of the aspect of have I had any cases related to menopause discrimination, the answer is no. If you want to actually suggest cases, please do so. I would be more happy to look into them, but I did some research as well and couldn’t find any cases. But it’s not to mean that there’s not gonna be cases in the future.

Speaker 1: It tends that the societal, cultural moves happen first and then promotes the type of cases that are brought to court eventually, and I would enjoy not doing a case like this, of course, but that’s the current status of menopause and menopause-friendly workplaces. That’s a good idea, but the truth is really behind the curtain, so to speak, that it’s motivated by money, by companies, instead of just this good nature thing to provide a menopause-friendly workspace for women, which is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the real reason why they’re doing it. Anyway, as always, I’m telling you what your employer does not want you to know a lot more, because I sit around and I looked at it and I pondered it and just didn’t make any sense to me. So I’m glad it’s happening, but the real reason is driven by money. Take care until next time.

Tags: menopause peri-menopause post-menopause