Endometriosis and Adenomyosis; A Workplace Issue

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2015 National Women's Conference
16 October 2014

Endometriosis and Adenomyosis are chronic and painful conditions where cells from the lining of the womb are deposited in other parts of the body instead of being lost during menstruation.

These cells continue to change in size and bleed in response to a woman’s normal menstrual cycle. This can affect bowel, bladder and kidney function, and cause pain in joints and bleeding from the sites where cells are. The impact is more than gynaecological, particularly if other organs are affected.

It affects more than 1.5 million women in the UK beyond puberty, regardless of age, ethnicity and reproductive history.

1) 10% of women worldwide have endometriosis – that’s 176 million women worldwide.

2) Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK.

The symptoms include: persistent pain, heavy and irregular periods, painful urination, bowel problems, particularly diarrhoea and bloating, back and joint pain, depression and pain during sex.

Endometriosis disrupts women’s lives, in the workplace and elsewhere, it is a condition of which many people are unaware, and which many women can find it hard to talk about and get support with. The cost to both women with the condition and their employers will be great and highlighting this through our women’s networks will be a worthwhile exercise to undertake.

Few HR and OH departments are well informed about this disease; attendance management and health and safety policies are often not supportive of women with this condition this can result in our members being unfairly punished through attendance management for a condition that is inescapable.

a) Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to work with all relevant bodies including regions and branches to collect current information on this condition and to also pull together examples of model policies regarding endometriosis including attendance management and health and safety.

b) Additionally we ask the NWC to highlight the cost to women suffering from this condition financially and physically and to raise the cost to employers who manage our Women members with this condition inappropriately.

c) Conference further calls upon the NWC to share this information with all branches so that when our employers seek to negotiate new or amend existing sickness policies we can ensure this condition is factored into the sickness management process.

d) Conference also believes that endometriosis should be recognised as a condition within the remit of the Equalities Act, and therefore placing on the employer the duty to investigate and provide reasonable adjustments.