Ireland’s biggest mobile operator will now also offer medical treatment for those affected by menopause.
Vodafone is to train all staff on the effects and impact of menopause, and offer those going through menopause the options of medical treatment and flexible working.
The move comes as the operator released results of a survey showing that nearly two-thirds of working women who experience menopause say it affected their work.
Half of the 5,000-strong survey respondents said they felt stigma around the issue and a third hid it from colleagues. The issue is most acute among women under 45, two-thirds of whom said they were too embarrassed to ask for support around menopause.
Vodafone says that 15pc of its 100,000 global employees are currently affected by menopause.
So the operator says it will introduce a training programme to all 100,000 employees, including a ‘toolkit’ about understanding the menopause and guidance on how to support employees and colleagues who may be going through it.
Vodafone Ireland employees experiencing the menopause will now also be able to avail of leave for sickness and medical treatment, as well as flexible working and additional care through Vodafone’s Employee Assistance supports.
“With menopause impacting women for a significant period of their working life, it’s important to us that our environment supports and normalises these life stages by openly talking about and supporting menopause in the workplace,” said Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland.
“We want to support our people through every life stage. Today’s announcement highlights our desire for women to see Vodafone as the place to be for their career through all stages of their life.”
According to research cited by Vodafone, one in four women will experience serious menopause symptoms which can include depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and cognitive impairment. It can last between seven and 14 years and occurs typically between the ages of 45 and 55.
”This is typically the age women are coming into management and top leadership roles,” the operator says.
The median age for reaching menopause is 51 but research shows that for Black women this can be two years earlier at age 49.