The QTU Menopause Project
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 8, 6 November 2020, page no. 18
The QTU is engaging in a project to support employees who are impacted by menopause - the QTU Menopause Project.
Menopause is slowly being recognised as a workplace issue and discussions are occurring industrially in the international space. The QTU is proud to lead in this area as a feminised union and employer, and is undertaking a pilot program with workplace wellbeing advisor Thea O’Connor with the aim of becoming a menopause friendly organisation, honouring this significant, natural stage in the life-cycle and also supporting women who might struggle with menopausal symptoms.
The planning for the project commenced last year, and while the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent wage referral meant that it was suspended for most of 2020, we are now getting back on track.
As a progressive workplace, we see directly the impact of not understanding or supporting women experiencing symptoms and impacted by menopause can have in the workplace. We think it is important to de-stigmatise menopause and view it as a natural and normal life stage, and the outcomes of the pilot will direct and inform the QTU in improving conditions for menopausal and peri- and post-menopausal women in their workplaces.
We know workplaces have a legal responsibility to offer a healthy, safe and discrimination free environment for all workers, including women experiencing the menopause transition. However, we also know very few workplaces explicitly acknowledge, name or support menopause in a meaningful way.
- It is 100 per cent natural/normal.
- 50 per cent of humanity experiences it.
- 50 per cent+ of menopausal women say the symptoms make work more difficult.
- Near 0 per cent are getting workplace support - until now!
Following staff surveys that explored understanding of impact and awareness, we have begun training for managers and opt-in employee training, and are in the process of developing a policy to support employees. The QTU views menopause as an important life stage to be supported, rather than a bunch of problems to be managed.
We want our midlife employees and members to thrive. We now have a dedicated space on our website for the QTU Menopause Project (www.qtu.asn.au/menopause-at-work), where you will find a suite of resources:
- "Menopause@work - What workplaces need to know"
- "How to talk to your manager about menopause"
- "Self-care when working through menopause"
- "Getting the most out of your GP appointment"
- "How managers can have a supportive conversation"
- "Is my colleague going through menopause and should I say something?'
Feel free to add them to your staff information boards, share them with your colleagues and at QTU branch meetings. Please direct any feedback and queries on this project through your local Organiser or to the QTU Women’s Officer Penny Spalding (email@example.com).
Find out more at www.qtu.asn.au/menopause-at-work