Media organisation Channel 4 has introduced a new menopause policy for its 800 UK-based staff, aiming to support employees with menopausal symptoms, as well as to provide guidance to managers and colleagues on how to assist others.
The new policy, which launched today (Friday 18 October 2019) in conjunction with World Menopause Day, aims to end the stigma associated with the menopause by encouraging a better understanding of the condition among employees and facilitating a more open working environment.
The policy ensures that female employees have access to flexible working arrangements, can take paid leave if they feel unwell due to menopausal symptoms, including a sudden onset of symptoms while at work, and provides access to support and guidance resources.
Furthermore, the policy facilitates for a private, cool and quiet space for staff to work, alongside a working environment assessment, which ensures that an employee’s work space is not exacerbating menopausal symptoms. Leadership teams will also be required to attend awareness briefings.
To support the policy, Channel 4’s HR team has appointed a dedicated menopause champion. Other internal groups that will take responsibility for the policy include its mental health employee network, 4Mind, and its gender equality staff network group, 4Women.
Menopausal symptoms include, but are not limited to, hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, depression, headaches, recurrent urinary tract infections, joint stiffness, aches and pains, reduced concentration and heavy bleeding. Each woman experiencing the menopause will have different symptoms of varying severity.
To help launch the new policy, 4Women held a panel discussion on 17 October 2019, titled ‘The M-Word’. This aimed to demystify the menopause, debunk misperceptions and explore what employers can do to better support women experiencing the menopause.
Alex Mahon, chief executive officer at Channel 4, said: “This is Channel 4 living its remit, normalising a taboo subject by making [them] more visible, and we hope that 4Women’s fantastic work will inspire more in the industry to support women in their workplaces transitioning through the menopause.”
Jane English, co-chair of 4Women at Channel 4, added: “Too many women suffer in silence due to the stigma around the menopause. We wanted to open up the conversation at Channel 4 and in doing so, prompt the media industry to also start talking more about how [it] can better support women transitioning through it.”