Linklaters becomes latest UK firm to implement menopause policy

Move follows similar announcements by rivals including Freshfields and Stephenson Harwood
Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Oktober 3, 2014: linklaters in Luxembourg - linklaters LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in London

Linklaters' Luxembourg office Nitpicker; Shutterstock

UK law firm Linklaters has introduced a global menopause policy and support package for employees who are directly or indirectly impacted by the menopause.

The measures include: expanding the firm’s menopause support group globally to encourage people to talk openly about it; introducing an e-learning module for people across the firm with management or supervisory responsibilities; and creating a resources hub to support those experiencing the menopause, as well as those supporting a partner or family member. 

In the UK the firm will also roll out an app, Peppy Health, to provide online menopause support and enhance its private medical insurance scheme with AXA Health to cover specialist consultations for conditions relating to the menopause. 

The magic circle firm said the package would help it to retain and support women of all ages into senior roles. 

Jessamy Gallagher, executive committee champion for age and life stage at Linklaters, commented: “Menopause symptoms can have a detrimental impact on anybody living with them, and their working lives are not exempt from that. It can also indirectly affect anyone, including those supporting a partner or family member living through the menopause. 

“People should not have to navigate the menopause in silence. I hope that our policy and enhanced support will encourage discussion and strengthen our culture of openness.”

A survey last year conducted by non-profit Newson Health Research and Education laid bare the impact of menopausal symptoms such as fatigue and memory problems on women in the workplace. 

Of the 3,800 UK women surveyed, 99% said their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms had led to a negative impact on their careers, with over a third calling the impact ‘significant’. More than half (59%) had taken time off work due to their symptoms, while 18% were off more than eight weeks.

Reasons for taking time off included reduced efficiency (45%), poor quality of work (26%) and poor concentration (7%). Overall, one in five (21%) passed on the chance to go for promotion they would have otherwise considered, while 19% reduced hours and 12% resigned.

Linklaters’ announcement follows UK rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer launching a menopause policy in the UK in February that includes a paid menopause plan and time off for medical appointments, while last September London-based firm Stephenson Harwood announced a global menopause policy that enables those affected by symptoms of menopause to work flexibly, among other measures.   

Freshfields also signed up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge, created by the charity Wellbeing of Women, which commits the firm to ‘recognise that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace and women need support, talk openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause and actively support and inform your employees affected by the menopause’. 

UK law firms Kingsley Napley and Banner Jones have also signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which counts more than 600 employers as signatories including Royal Mail, the BBC and AstraZeneca.  

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