Labour conference: Menopausal women ‘should get flexible work hours’

Labour conference: Menopausal women ‘should get flexible work hours’

Large employers would be forced to provide flexible hours to women experiencing the menopause under Labour plans to end stigma in the workplace.

Shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler announced the “bold” policy as the party’s conference starts in Brighton.

Other proposals to be discussed include expanding GP training, transport and Labour’s stance on Brexit.

But the opening of the conference was overshadowed by a row over a bid to get rid of Tom Watson’s deputy leader role.

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Under Ms Butler’s plans, companies with more than 250 employees would also be required to train managers on the effects of the menopause so they can accommodate the needs of employees.

The MP said: “Together we must end the stigma and ensure that no woman is put at a disadvantage, from menstruation to menopause.”

Three in five menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 55 say it has a negative impact on them at work, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Mandy Broadbent, from Bolton, Lancashire, an ambassador to the Eve Appeal charity, said “employers should be doing all they can to make women feel comfortable at a difficult phase in their life”.

The 56-year-old added: “It can be such a drastic change to a women’s life, no one is prepared for it and you can end up really losing your self confidence.

“The more flexible employers can be, the more it will help women reach their potential.”

Media captionMenopause: what are the symptoms and why does it happen?

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Labour’s plans would also require large employers to ensure absence procedures are flexible; and as well treat menopause like a long-term fluctuating health condition.

Recommended adjustments include providing adequate ventilation to help alleviate hot flushes; ensuring access to cold water and flexible working hours if sleep is disturbed.

Other Labour policies on women in the workplace to be announced include forcing large companies to publish action plans to close the gender pay gap; and to tackle harassment at work through the Equality Act.

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Daniel Oduma-Jato

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