While half (51 per cent) of peri- and post-menopausal U.S. women say menopause has negatively impacted their work life, just 14 per cent believe their employer recognizes the need for menopause-specific benefits, according to a new survey by Bank of America Corp. and the National Menopause Foundation.
The survey, which polled more than 500 employers and more than 2,000 women employees between ages 40 and 65, found nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of women said they want menopause-specific benefits.
Among women who said their employer offers these benefits, more than half (58 per cent) said they’ve had a positive impact on their productivity and were more likely (83 per cent) to describe their employer as a great place to work than women who don’t have access to these benefits (69 per cent).
Among employers that don’t offer menopause benefits, the No. 1 reason cited was that employees haven’t asked for them. Among employers that offer these benefits, the most common was access to menopause health professionals (40 per cent), followed by policies such as time off or flexible working arrangements (38 per cent) and coverage for hormone replacement therapy coverage (38 per cent). However, fewer than a third of women said they’re aware of available benefits and just 10 per cent said they use them.
And while nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of employers said their workplace culture has a positive perception of menopause, only 32 per cent of women agreed.
“Menopause is a normal life stage in women’s lives, yet there is still a need and opportunity for workplaces to enhance their menopause policies and benefits,” said Claire Gill, founder of the National Menopause Foundation, in a press release. “We hope this research will inspire employers to create cultures that reduce stigma and foster better communication.”