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Northern Ireland sick days due to menopause UK's highest, survey finds

The most common symptoms reported in the survey include hot flushes, exhaustion and lack of concentration (stock photo)
The most common symptoms reported in the survey include hot flushes, exhaustion and lack of concentration (stock photo)

Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of women who have taken a day off work due to the menopause of any UK region, according to new figures.

A survey by health analysis company Forth With Life shows that 37% of women in Northern Ireland have taken a sick day because of the symptoms. This is more than three times the UK average of 11%.

The most common symptoms reported in the survey include hot flushes, exhaustion and lack of concentration.

Forth With Life's sample group was made up of 1000 women aged 45 in either full-time or part-time employment.

While some workplaces offered free advice or had policies focused on the menopause, 90% of those surveyed said their workplace offered no support whatsoever.

In Northern Ireland, 37% of women said they had spoken to their manager or a superior about the issue, more than double the UK average of 15%.

Forth With Life founder Sarah Bolt said workplaces need to do more to support their employees.

 “Workplaces are required by law to offer robust support and forward thinking policies for pregnant women and employees with chronic illnesses or disabilities, so it’s only natural to assume that the menopause – something that happens to all women once they have passed a particular age – is an issue that most employers have planned for and are able to deal with," she said.

“Organisations have a moral duty to take the physical and psychological issues of their workers into account – in much the same way that pregnancy and disability is currently approached.

“Menopause is a natural and unavoidable part of a female employee’s life, and so perhaps it is time that suitable provision is made available for this within every company – if not only for the wellbeing of our employees, then also in order to avoid significant numbers of sick days and resignations.”

Of those surveyed, 11% said menopause symptoms prevented them from putting themselves forward for promotion, and 11% said that it is likely to have influenced their decision to leave their job.

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