Channel 4 is launching its first ever menopause policy, in a bid to normalise the “taboo” subject.
The policy will support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety and fatigue, giving women access to flexible working arrangements and paid leave if they feel unwell due to the side-effects that come from the natural part of ageing.
The new strategy – which Channel 4 says is the first known among UK media companies – will also offer employees a private, cool and quiet workspace, a working environment assessment to ensure their physical workspace is not worsening their symptoms, and a range of support and guidance resources.
The broadcaster hopes to end the stigma around the menopause by encouraging a better understanding of it among its staff, including line managers, and by facilitating a more open work environment for those transitioning through it.
As part of the policy, Channel 4 will also introduce menopause awareness briefings to its leadership teams, and its HR team now has a dedicated menopause champion.
The channel in-house gender equality staff network 4Women are responsible for the policy, and they will continue to offer support along with mental health employee network 4Mind.
The broadcaster announced its dedicated action on World Menopause Day.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “This is Channel 4 living its remit, normalising a taboo subject by making it 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, said: “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 they can better support women transitioning through it.”
According to research earlier this year from human resource company the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 59% of women in the workplace who experience menopausal symptoms say they have a negative impact on their work.
Those experiencing symptoms of the menopause, a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age when a woman’s oestrogen levels decline, may also experience night sweats, dizziness, memory loss, depression, headaches, recurrent urinary tract infections, joint stiffness, aches and pains, reduced concentration and heavy bleeding.
The NHS says the average age for a woman to reach the menopause in the UK is 51.