How to Support Female Workers in Menopause

Aoibhinn Mc Bride discusses menopause – a subject that affects a large portion of the beauty salon workforce.

Once a taboo subject, menopause and how it affects female employees in the workplace is finally getting the attention it deserves. In 2021, Kirstin Hunter, then-CEO of Australian retail superannuation fund Future Super announced her support for the company’s introduction of six days’ paid menstrual and menopausal leave per year.

At legislative level, the UK is leading the charge with the establishment of a menopause taskforce to address the needs of menopausal employees—a 2022 survey by the UK government found that menopausal symptoms affected 92% of respondents. So, what can Australian employers do in the interim to help female workers through this transitional period and reduce the amount of older employees leaving the workplace?

Establish a menopause strategy

While benefits such as sick pay and parental leave are seen as fundamental in most companies, menopause leave is virtually non-existent in Australia, and employers are not legally required to provide paid leave for those experiencing debilitating symptoms that render them unable to work.

To navigate this, employers can take a proactive approach and establish a menopause strategy. This can include an amount of paid leave days per year for any menopause-related illness (physical or psychological), establishing ways to make working environments more sympathetic to menopausal women, for example, allowing female employees to regulate their body temperature with fans, or if staff wear a uniform, evaluating whether it’s comfortable or needs some adjustment.

Be more flexible

According to a US-based survey, 47% of female workers aged 40 to 55 have contemplated looking for remote jobs to help deal with their menopause symptoms, and in the UK, 18% of women going through menopause were considering leaving their jobs.

With one-in-four Australians now looking for a new job because they are unhappy, employers are under increasing pressure to make things work and if hybrid working isn’t possible, flexibility can be offered in other ways: sleep disturbances can be managed with later start times while additional breaks day-to-day can help with muscle and joint stiffness, headaches and reduced concentration.

Offer support

According to a report published by UNSW Sydney, the stigma surrounding menopause is often linked to ageing, and how age can be seen to compromise a woman’s ability to make big decisions or manage effectively.

The easiest way to navigate this time is by building a relationship based on trust and empathy, and regular one-to-one catch up meetings with employees can help foster a more positive and inclusive culture, and allow workers to bring up any sensitive issues that might be affecting their work.

Working with a healthcare provider to debunk the myths surrounding menopause in the workplace and creating a framework around new ways of working is another great way to support staff experiencing perimenopause or menopause symptoms, and can help educate other members of staff too.

Are you looking for a company that can offer the support you need? Check out the Professional Beauty Job Board today.

Beauty Therapist, Laser Clinics Australia, Perth

As one of Australia’s leading aesthetic clinics, Laser Clinics Australia prides itself on its workplace benefits and approach to creating a work-life balance. These include flexible days and hours to fit your schedule, and ongoing training and development to further your career. This Beauty Therapist role located in Perth’s CBD will suit a beauty therapist with experience of leading a team, and the ability to drive a positive team culture and offer superior customer service while focussing on achieving sales targets. The successful candidate can look forward to the company’s employee assistance programme, additional training to be a para-medical skin ambassador, store discounts and a performance-based bonus structure. Apply here.

Assistant Manager, The Body Shop, Melbourne

When Anita Roddick founded The Body Shop in 1976, she had a vision—business as a force for good and today the company is still committed to that goal, especially when it comes to its employees. In this Assistant Manager role, you’ll be expected to champion customer service and coach the team to drive positive customer store experiences, as well as monitor and manage staff to meet sales targets. Benefits include flexible hours, including holidays. Find out more about this role here.

Retail Business Manager, Aesop, Sydney

Thanks to its carefully cultivated work environment, Aesop employees benefit from an inclusive culture where courtesy and cordiality are paramount. It also has a holistic approach towards professional development including wellbeing initiatives, flexible ways of hybrid working, parental leave, employee assistance programmes and a complimentary subscription to Headspace, the mindfulness app. As a Retail Business Manager working in the Sydney area, you’ll be responsible for overseeing and developing the Sydney, New South Wales stores and counters and ensuring the achievement of sales targets in each of these locations, along with actively coaching, developing and motivating staff. See the full job spec here.

Ready for your next challenge?
Check out the Professional Beauty Job Board for beauty jobs all across Australia

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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