From periods to menopause - Howden shows businesses how to better support women’s health



08 March 2022

On International Women’s Day (8th March)[i] Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) is shining a light on the need for employers to do more to support the health and wellbeing of female employees. They are launching a  guide to help HR teams navigate their way through this changing landscape.

A report from the Social Research Institute at University College London[ii]highlights that women are missing out on promotions and pay rises due to the menopause, with many women having careers disrupted — or cut short — as they reached the peak of their working life because of symptoms such as hot flushes, insomnia, anxiety and heart palpitations.

Women aged between 50 and 55 take an average of two months off work but those who go through an early menopause before 45, take off closer to four months. Also, women who face early menopause lose about £20,000 in wages and pension contributions from missing out on better jobs, while those who go through a more typical menopause face a £10,000 loss.

Hazel Craig says, “On International Women’s Day, we want to help companies better support women’s health and wellbeing to create a more inclusive and equitable work culture with reduced stigma around menopause, endometriosis, and wider women’s health.”

“Taking a proactive and tailored approach to supporting women’s health can have a positive impact on your employees and business performance, including enhancing talent attraction and retention efforts, reducing rates of absence and increasing engagement.”

Howden has produced a guide, ‘Supporting women’s health in the workplace: from periods to menopause and everything in between’ covering, periods, fertility, perimenopause, menopause and female cancers, with practical advice for employers on how to support women, and the benefits and support services that can help.

For example, with menopause the guide suggests how making small adjustments to the working environment can improve health and help to lessen some of the symptoms, such as offering enhanced flexible working and providing different equipment or facilities that support environmental needs.  

Medical assistance can also be key, with Howden outlining how it is possible to include hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in private medical insurance.

Hazel adds, “Women’s health is a broad topic and is unique and personal to each individual. Hence, having a comprehensive range of benefits and support in place is important. This can include awareness and educational campaigns to reduce stigma, training for managers so employees feel comfortable and confident talking to colleagues, through to working practices (e.g. policies, flexible working) and practical support such as access to healthcare services, specialist apps, health checks etc.”  

“With a growing focus on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing in the workplace, employers should be considering how they are engaging with these topics and how they can better support their employees.”

Download the ‘Supporting women’s health in the workplace: from periods to menopause and everything in between’ guide.