Menopause awareness and support in local government

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2023 National Local Government Service Group Conference
17 February 2023
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that as a union of one million women, women will always be at the heart of UNISON.

Conference also notes that UNISON has proudly campaigned for many years to remove what many campaigners and activists call the last great workplace taboo.

Conference further notes that the demography of UNISONs membership in social care and schools/education is older and primarily female.

In Cymru Wales, UNISON is working with the WLGA and our sister NJC unions to place all-Wales menopause awareness and support at the top of the Joint Council for Wales agenda.

To help deliver and underpin this work, our Cymru Wales Local Government Committee will be surveying our entire local government membership in Wales in one of the largest ever surveys of its kind, to understand the true picture of menopause awareness and support.

And at local authority level, Cymru Wales branches have been hosting seminars and conferences as well as being keynote speakers at external conferences to influence employers to really make menopause awareness and support matter.

We believe that every employer should have a formal menopause policy and welcome the new BS 30416 UK standard for menstrual health and menopause in the workplace.

Our experience to date has been that menopause policies are a great place to start if an employer has none in place, utilising UNISONs model menopause policy, available online, where possible.

Equally, our experience has also been that some employers rely on stating that they have such a policy without evidencing how it is used or how it supports employees.

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

1)Continue putting women at the heart of UNISON;

2)To note that despite the rise in awareness, menopause is still the last workplace taboo and because of poor healthcare support is still holding too many women back and forcing people at the height of their careers to consider leaving the workforce or reducing their hours;

3)To promote our call for every local government employer to have a formal menopause policy;

4)To promote our call for Local Government UNISON branches to not only lobby their local government employer about a formal policy, but to actively promote menopause support and awareness, including symptoms, to our entire and diverse membership as a business-as-usual organising campaign;

5)To consider placing menopause leave on the national NJC bargaining agenda via appropriate structures.