10 Reasons Your School Needs a Menopause Policy
and why its good for everyone!
- It’s an education tool. Perimenopause often goes unrecognised and even misdiagnosed. Giving your staff reliable information about perimenopause and menopause can help them to realise what’s going on and that means they can take appropriate steps to help themselves.
- It’s a compassion tool. When colleagues have an understanding of what happens in perimenopause and menopause they have more empathy to their colleagues as they go through it.
- It’s a talking tool. The information and the language used can help people start conversations about menopause which enables them to ask for help and support each other and gives line managers guidance about how to handle those conversations.
- It’s an openness tool. Often it’s assumed that people will talk to school leaders about menopause if they need to, but there are lots of barriers to doing that — including shame, embarrassment and mistrust. Having a policy signals that the school cares and that it’s safe to talk about it.
- It’s a productivity tool. Offering the right support to staff keeps them doing their jobs to the best of their ability.
- It’s a health and safety tool. All schools have a legal responsibility to keep their staff safe as they do their jobs. Your policy gives you chance to plan how you’ll do this for staff in menopause and perimenopause.
- It’s an equality tool. Schools also have a legal responsibility not to discriminate against anyone because of age and sex — and menopause involves both of those.
- It’s a protective tool. Menopause has been the subject of an increasing number of employment tribunals. Sometimes the employee wins, sometimes not. But if it gets that far, everyone has lost something. A menopause policy shows your willingness to make reasonable adjustments.
- It’s a common sense tool. Your policy also makes clear which adjustments are reasonable and which, in the particular environment of your school are not. You’re probably not going to promise that your staff can turn up to work when they feel like it. But much of the support you can offer is simple and sensible.
- It’s a retention tool. School staff will often leave if they can’t cope with menopause at work. If they keep on struggling in silence they may reach a point of no return without school management even knowing. That’s a personal tragedy, but it’s also a blow for the school and its learners.