On World Menopause Day in October, all forces were sent updated guidelines to remind them they have a legal obligation to make appropriate changes that will help female officers continue to work while facing menopausal symptoms that can be debilitating.
The menopause itself is not covered by the Equality Act 2010, but the health conditions that arise from it, or are made worse by it, may be.
In a 2019 survey spearheaded by PFEW Wellbeing Lead Hayley Aley, eight out of 10 female officers going through the menopause said sleep disturbances were having a detrimental effect on their career. A reasonable adjustment could be allowing an officer to do two extra late shifts instead of a night duty during a period of insomnia.
The survey also found 76% of officers had found symptoms either moderately or extremely problematic at work – nearly half considered quitting the force as a result.
Meanwhile BUPA and the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) have said that almost 1 million women in the UK left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms.
The Federation has been one of the driving forces behind breaking down the barriers in the police service surrounding the menopause.
Belinda Goodwin, Secretary of PFEW’s Women’s Group, and Chief Constable Lisa Winward, National Police Chiefs’ Council Menopause Lead, both sit on the Menopause Action Group.
CC Winward said: “These are people who are talented, skilled individuals who are dedicated to policing and if we can make reasonable adjustments to support them throughout some of those debilitating symptoms, they can still deliver a really valuable service to the communities they serve, to their colleagues and their team within the organisation – they just need that support during that period in their life.
“Like anyone else who might be suffering with symptoms of a condition, we would absolutely want to support that person, so why wouldn’t we want to do that for menopause?”
“You do not need to suffer in silence. There are hundreds of people out there you can reach out to, including your Federation colleagues, there are tactical and strategic leads in every force.
Date posted: November 1, 2021