A Cumbrian building society has developed a specific policy to support employees who are going through menopause.

The Cumberland Building Society’s workforce is approximately 63 per cent female, and the company joins national businesses including Tesco, Santander and Bupa in pledging to ensure a supportive workplace for employees affected by menopause.

The policy aims to educate its managers and enable them to begin conversations with staff, provide information and guidance, and encourage other businesses to follow their example.

Currently, 50 per cent of women resign or take early retirement due to menopause or perimenopause while it accounts for 14million working days being lost each year.

Debbie Shearer, head of first-line risk at The Cumberland, said she is happy the company is taking action: “It can feel really isolating and feel like you are losing a bit of yourself, so to know there is some understanding is in itself really helpful.

“I really struggle with flushes and overheating.

“I try to make a joke of it, but that’s me covering up my embarrassment.

“I used to try and hide it but it’s impossible to, so now I carry a very elegant Spanish fan with me everywhere and if I feel the need I use it and openly explain.

“I pride myself on my memory, but I am finding that I do forget more and more these days, so I now make sure I write things down.

“A particular challenge is forgetting words – and these are straightforward everyday words too.

“This can and does impact confidence.”

It is already running regular, informal drop-in sessions providing a platform to have these conversations, talking openly and respectfully about menopause.

As part of making discussions about menopause accepted and creating a shift in outdated attitudes, a group of colleagues at the Cumberland - both men and women - have formed a Menopause Support Group, with one colleague speaking out about living and working with menopause.

The menopause policy has been driven by Lyndsay Maxwell, people business partner, and Claire Crossan, customer experience manager.

Lyndsay said: “We want everyone to embrace the policy and help break the stigma.

“This is about culture and understanding.

“Support is available to all colleagues, including information sessions and training for managers.

“For some, it is a taboo subject because women didn’t like to talk about it, but campaigns like this and public figures speaking about it are making the difference.”

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