Tesco unveils package of support for colleagues going through menopause

Tesco has stopped including time off work due to menopause symptoms in its absence calculations. This enables colleagues to take time off work to cope with menopausal symptoms without the added worry of the impact on their absence rates.

The move will also encourage honest and open conversations about reasons for needing time off work. The change to the policy for menopause absences builds on the work already done at Tesco to raise awareness, and provide tools and resources to support colleagues.

Emma Taylor, Tesco Chief People Officer, said: “We want to support our colleagues through this time in their life without adding additional worries or pressure. For some colleagues, symptoms of menopause may be so debilitating there may be times when they are too unwell to come to work. That’s why we are making this latest change.

“Menopause impacts us all. We will either experience it ourselves or know a family member, friend or colleague that experiences it. It’s something we all need to know about and isn’t just an issue for women. In the UK alone, Tesco employs around 300,000 colleagues, more than half of whom are female. We encourage open, honest and positive conversations across our business, so that colleagues feel confident in talking about their own health and wellbeing, and helping us to assist with any support they may need.”

Over the last year, work to support colleagues experiencing symptoms of menopause, and also educate others about it, has included:

New menopause friendly uniform: developed by colleagues in its Swansea stores, tops are now made from a lightweight, more breathable fabric that is cooler and more comfortable to wear at work.

Talking Menopause Colleague Café: held virtually to ensure any colleague can attend, a different menopause topic is explored at each session.

Signing the Menopause Workplace Pledge: as one of the UK's largest private-sector employers, Tesco has signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge and is committed to helping its colleagues understand and talk openly about menopause.

Launch of menopause guide: Tesco is encouraging colleagues to share the guide with friends and family. It is also offering it to other businesses to hopefully help their colleagues.

Introduction of colleague menopause portal: Tesco has brought all of its menopause resources, colleague support and information together in one place, helping to make it easier for colleagues to access anytime they need it. There are also webinars on menopause, recordings of events and colleagues share their own personal stories around menopause to help inspire and help others.

Hot@Tesco group: set up by members of Tesco’s women’s network, this group provides colleagues with a space to connect, share experiences, be there for each other and signpost resources.

Daniel Adams, Usdaw National Officer, said: “Usdaw has long campaigned for the menopause to be treated as an occupational health issue and called upon employers to better support women working through the menopause. We welcome that Tesco has recognised that women experiencing the menopause need additional support and flexibility and that absence should be managed supportively, not punitively.

“Following on from our joint launch of a guide for staff going through the menopause, this change to the sickness absence policy will give our members confidence to take the time they need to deal with the symptoms they are experiencing.”

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