Health & Science

Bank of Ireland now offers paid leave to employees suffering menopause symptoms

Ireland launched a plan to improve awareness and care of menopause. Bank of Ireland now offers up to 10 days of paid leave for menopause-related sickness.

Bank of Ireland in Dublin
Bank of Ireland announced October 19 that employees suffering from menopause symptoms will have up to 10 days of paid sick leave available | © Bank of Ireland, Grand Canal Branch in Dublin

During Ireland’s first menopause awareness week, the Bank of Ireland has announced employees will be able to take paid sick leave due to symptoms or medical appointments related to menopause.

The financial services union, a leading Irish trade union across banking and finance, on October 17, which coincides with World Menopause Day, launched its Menopause workplace guidance policy. The document argues menopause is a workplace issue employers need to deal with “in a compassionate and professional manner.”

At the same time, Mandy La Combre, Senior Industrial Relations Officer with the FSU also announced that major retail banks of Ireland – Danske, AIB, Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland – agreed on a workplace policy for the menopause with the FSU.

In the context of aging workforce support as seen by the FSU needs to include up to 10 days of paid leave, training and education for staff and management.

Bank of Ireland announced on October 19 that menopause leave will be available to employees experiencing menopause-related sickness, with psychological or physical symptoms, with up to 10 days of paid leave available. Any leave related to menopause will not affect employees’ attendance records. All Bank of Ireland people managers and HR teams will receive training to better understand the impact that menopause can have on work, and what supports might be helpful to colleagues affected by menopausal symptoms.

Bank of Ireland also recently launched an enhanced paternity leave policy, a domestic abuse support policy as well as fertility leave and support, according to Joanne Healy, Head of Employee Relations at Bank of Ireland.

AIB and Ulster Bank offer handbooks and advice to managers but no leave, according to the FSU, the Independent reports.

Menopause has long been viewed as strictly a ‘private and personal matter’ shrouded in stigma, but with more women than ever in the workplace employers have a responsibility to consider the difficulties women may experience during menopause,” declared Ms. La Combe, although she noted that “some employers have been slow to recognize that special consideration is required for women suffering through menopause in the workplace.”

In a survey answered by 1,335 FSU members in 2021, approximately 8 in 10 respondents were women, the union noted that 89 percent of respondents say menopause affects working life, and that more than one-third say menopause is treated as a joke in their workplace.

The ministry of Health in September 2021 released a report in which 270 women shared their experiences and wish for a better Irish health system. Starting an open conversation around menopause to improve women’s health outcomes and experiences of healthcare was a key insight from it.

The government of Ireland launched a communications campaign for better care and awareness of menopause to “take out the mystery out of menopause during Ireland’s first Menopause awareness week. According to the ministry of Health, 82 percent of people agree that menopause is not openly discussed. In the meantime, less than 20 percent of women currently experiencing menopause or perimenopause today describe it as a positive experience.

To support women’s care, six specialist menopause clinics are expected to be open by the end of 2022. Three of them are already in service, the menopause clinic at Rotunda Hospital Dublin opened this week, but a fourth one still lacks staff.

Read more about Ireland

Workplace menopause survey, Financial services union, 2021, PDF

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