Leicester District
National Education Union

Jessica Edmonds, Leicester NEU Assistant Secretary, 23rd January 2019

Pause for menopause: it's time we all talked about it

Ladies and gents - it's time to be open about the effect that menopause can have in the workplace. People experiencing menopause may have problems sleeping, loss of concentration, physical discomfort, as well as those hot flushes (power surges!). These can all affect someone's ability to do their job, and with symptoms lasting an average of four years, perhaps it's something to give thought to, especially where an employee would fall under the scope of the Equality Act 2010. For school leaders, it's a tricky topic to broach. Therefore, if you are experiencing menopause and would like support, it's a good idea to raise that with your leadership. If they don't know, they can't help you, and any problems you might be experiencing at work might become more difficult to cope with.

Conversations about menopause should be handled as confidentially and sensitively as any other medical condition, with appropriate support measures being considered and put in place by managers to support employees. Helping an employee may reduce stress, and therefore make them happier at work. The Health and Wellbeing Passport (available on the Schools' ExtraNet) could also be used.

Around 50% of the population experience menopause, and the rest of the population arguably are affected by it, so don't be shy! If we all talk about menopause, its symptoms and its effects, we normalise it.

If you feel like you could use some support, why don't you:

• Read the menopause guidance that's available on the ExtraNet;

• Talk to your line manager or another manager within your school;

• Talk to a local trade union officer (0116 255 5311);

• Contact AMICA confidential counselling: (0116) 254 4388 from 8.30 am to 8.30pm, 365 days a year.