Channel 4 is launching its first menopause policy in an effort to normalise the “taboo” subject.
The policy will support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety and fatigue, giving women access to flexible working arrangements and paid leave if they feel unwell because of the side-effects of ageing.
The strategy, which Channel 4 says is the first known among UK media companies, will also offer employees a private, cool and quiet workspace, a working environment assessment to ensure their physical workspace is not worsening their symptoms, and a range of support and guidance resources.
The broadcaster hopes to end the stigma around the menopause by encouraging a better understanding of it among staff, including line managers, and facilitating a more open work environment for those transitioning through it.
As part of the policy, Channel 4 will also introduce menopause awareness briefings to its leadership teams, and its HR team now has a dedicated menopause champion.
The channel’s in-house gender equality staff network 4Women is responsible for the policy, and will continue to offer support along with the mental health employee network 4Mind.
Alex Mahon, the Channel 4 chief executive, said: “This is Channel 4 living its remit, normalising a taboo subject by making it more visible, and we hope that 4Women’s fantastic work will inspire more in the industry to support women in their workplaces transitioning through the menopause.”
Jane English, a co-chair of 4Women, said: “We wanted to open up the conversation at Channel 4 and in doing so prompt the media industry to also start talking more about how they can better support women transitioning through menopause.”
According to research earlier this year from the human resource company Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 59% of women in the workplace who experience menopausal symptoms say they have a negative impact on their work.