£10bn cost to the economy of apathy over menopause, research shows

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Research shows the cost of menopausal women leaving the workforce and the associated costs of rehiring and retraining staff, as a result, is a staggering £10billion. According to the Fawcett Society, one in 10 women who were employed during menopause left their job due to symptoms including insomnia, hot flashes, migraine, muscle and joint pain and depression. More than a quarter took time off.

To determine the cost of hiring new workers, Balance, a British menopause support app, used statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Fawcett Society.

It also took into consideration the individual cost of replacing a staff member, looking at hire costs, training and loss of productivity for new hires.

Gaele Lalahy, Chief operating officer of Balance, said: “Women over 50 are the fastest growing segment of the workforce in the UK, and research demonstrates an evident correlation between untreated and undiagnosed menopause symptoms with experience at work and career progression, which in turn has a huge financial impact on companies – and on the UK economy as a whole.”

It comes after a report given to MPs last Wednesday called for a free menopause check-up for women when they turn 45 and for better menopause training among doctors.

The Menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group report, published after a year-long inquiry, also suggested scrapping HRT prescription charges in England in line with the other nations of the UK.

Career trends expert Jill Cotton said menopause is still seen as a taboo topic in many workplaces, creating a lack of transparency.

She said: “One in 10 people in the UK workforce is of menopausal age, but each person’s experience of menopause will be individual.

“Therefore, companies should offer a range of menopausal support to empower employees to tailor the offer to their specific needs.

“Being transparent and opening conversations around menopause or more widely about wellbeing and mental health can feel hard. But to attract and retain talent, it is vital companies take this step.”

In July, the women and equalities committee of MPs called for a large-scale trial of menopause leave to be introduced.

At the time, Conservative MP Caroline Nokes said menopause should become a “protected characteristic” under the Equalities Act, like pregnancy.

The committee called on the Government to appoint a “menopause ambassador” and develop a leave scheme with a large public sector employer “with a strong public profile”.

Mr Lalahy added: “We are partnering with a large number of organisations to support their diversity agenda, retain their female talents, and empower their employees to thrive in their careers.

“We are passionate about accelerating menopause awareness, diagnosis and care, and as we continue to progress in our mission, we will enable more women to thrive in the workplace, claim their seats in top positions, reduce the gender pay gap and create a more equal society.”

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