Greater Shepparton breaking down taboos on menopause

Shepparton People and Development manager, Karen Liversidge.

Greater Shepparton City Council is recognising the significance of all stages of menopause in a recently introduced operational policy that promotes awareness to all employees and sets out guidelines on how council will support employees going through menopause.

The policy aims to create an environment in which staff feel comfortable and supported discussing peri-menopause, menopause, post menopause and the associated symptoms along with providing practical support and adjustments to the work environment.

Manager People and Development, Karen Liversidge, said the policy highlights that menopause can have a significant impact on staff experiencing symptoms.

“We want to educate and inform all staff about the potential symptoms and how they can support individuals at work. This is not just an issue for women, all staff can be affected indirectly,” said Ms Liversidge.

“By creating awareness of symptoms within the workplace we want to ensure that staff are treated with respect and dignity and are supported by their colleagues and management. Whilst there is generally a good understanding of menstruation, menopause seems to be more of a taboo subject, perhaps because it was rarely spoken about openly in families.”

Ms Liversidge said the Managing Menopause in the Workplace Operational Policy was developed in response to information sessions on gender equity where staff highlighted that more consideration needs to be given to the impact menopause has on a person’s ability to perform their job.

“Whilst symptoms can vary from person to person they can range from severe to uncomfortable which may result in time off work. The policy provides for workplace adjustments such as desk fans, flexible work arrangements including work from home, uniform adaptations, additional breaks where needed, and six days of menopause leave.”

“The introduction of the Policy is an important move in recognising the value of all employees no matter their age, gender or health circumstances,” said Ms Liversidge.

“We know that providing recognition and support for a stage of life that affects more than 50 per cent of our workforce is a step in the right direction for employee satisfaction and retention.”