The pandemic highlighted the increasing blend of family and professional life, as many had to work around their children making appearances on zoom calls, being unable to compartmentalise work and home life. 36 per cent have reviewed leave policies for emergency family leave for dependants, in greater recognition of the need to support employees trying to balance work and home life. This also encompasses offering designated leave for charity and voluntary work which can also align with the values of the organisation. Individuals and their priorities are being increasingly viewed holistically.
Major lifetime milestones
Menopause wellbeing has been enshrined in policy for many organisations, such as the BMA, who has extended their policy to encompass menstruation too, given the debilitating effect that this can have on employees. Our UK Reward Management Survey highlighted how 52 per cent have reviewed the leave they offer to those going through the menopause, with a median of 7.5 days and 30 days of paid and unpaid leave, respectively. This bandwidth of days offered by employers recognises the sustained and transitory nature of events like the menopause, again giving discretion to employees in how they manage this.
Financial services software provider Phoebus Software has introduced a menopause wellbeing policy; 30 per cent of employees are female. Awareness of the issues inherent in this lifetime event has increased with greater talk about the effects of menopause in the mainstream media. From celebrities talking about their personal struggles in documentaries, to interviews on news programmes, the policies are designed to further support women in seeking the support they may need. There is an important educational dimension to this approach, as the support is made available to women and men, who may have partners going through this experience, but can also help to create an environment of transparency and openness.
Some are building this education into the approach to mental health policies in their business. Offering the right level of support based on the individual is crucial, but removing stigma attached to talking about these issues is paramount. Customer interaction management business Critizr has introduced a menstrual and miscarriage leave policy as a reflection of a global awareness that employers should be more respectful of the physical and psychological health of employees.
“With these measures, we want to go beyond our legal and contractual obligations and support our employees during the difficult times they may be going through, when working can be difficult – if not impossible.”
Xavier Molinié, Vice President of Human Resources at Critizr
The policy is intended to ensure that everyone has ‘the space and comfort to fulfil their potential’, again customising the policy to individual circumstances so that each employee is equipped to deal with personal challenges and knows that designated leave is there if they need it.