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MSP Global’s Lisa Richards among female business leaders calling for greater menopause rights

A group of leading businesswomen and academics is calling upon the UK government to strengthen the rights of female employees who are experiencing menopause.

Currently, women are not legally entitled to any time off work during menopause, despite the serious emotional, physical and mental issues it can cause. Menopause is also thought to have a major impact on the UK’s economy and the ability of firms to retain female talent.

These issues were the topic of a webinar led by Northern Power Women, timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, which featured a panel group of industry leaders and academics and was recorded at MSP Global’s studios in Liverpool.

Among the key demands of the group is that menopause should be made a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, ensuring that sufferers benefit from secure employment law rights.

They are also calling on policymakers to accept proposals to introduce ‘menopause leave’, allowing female staff a specified amount of time away from work to deal with the effects of the condition.

Lisa Richards, director at MSP Global, said:

“The current framework, or lack of it, around menopause rights is pushing women out of work in every sector. We share the concerns of the Northern Power Women group and we are happy to reinforce our long-term support by producing the webinar event in our studios and helping to drive this important agenda forward.

“In our business, we take steps to ensure the women we employ feel supported and financially secure during what can be a very challenging time. For this to become accepted practice across all settings, employers need clear guidance and support from the government so that they in turn can guide and support their own staff.”

Simone Roche, chief executive of Northern Power Women, said:

“There is a greater dialogue about menopause now than ever before, but greater and swifter change is needed. In recent months, ministers have blocked legislation to improve the employment rights of menopausal women and they continue to ignore the significant impact it has on lives and on the economy.

“By conferring greater rights on to menopausal women, the government has the opportunity to support their wellbeing, protect their employment status and retain their skills in the workforce.

“Some businesses are already taking a stronger approach to menopause, but this is by no means universal. We strongly urge ministers to review these matters without any further delay and give women and employers the certainty they need.”

Other contributors to the group include Adele Mackinley, director of people and organisational development at the University of Manchester, Alison Rawling, director of engineering service management at Barclays Bank, Nina Kuypers, founder of Black Women in Menopause, and Lindsay Garvey Jones, national retail manager at Holiday Extras.