Menopause policy a Northern Ireland first for Derry & Strabane Council

Proposer: SDLP Colr. Shauna Cusack.
Proposer: SDLP Colr. Shauna Cusack.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has today agreed to adopt a new Menopause Policy and guidance after members of its Governance and Strategic Planning Committee endorsed the proposal.

It is understood Derry City and Strabane District Council is the first Council in Northern Ireland to adopt this policy.

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack had proposed that the policy be introduced last year and welcomed its endorsement at the meeting.

Writing on social media, she said the move was “a further step to getting women the support and understanding they need in the workplace”.

“Let’s hope other employers and councils follow suit. Here’s to breaking the silence,” she added.

Outlining details of the policy to elected members at a meeting this week, the Council’s Lead HR Officer Paula Donnelly said the proposal was evidence of Council’s commitment to providing an inclusive and supportive working environment for all its employees.

She outlined to members how research shows that the majority of women are unwilling to discuss menopause-related health problems with their manager, or ask for the support or adjustments that they may need.

The policy sets out the guidelines for members of staff and managers on providing the right support to manage menopausal symptoms at work and has been developed in consultation with the recognised Trade Unions.

It was hoped, she added, that the policy would foster an environment in which colleagues can openly and comfortably instigate conversations, or engage in discussions about menopause.

The policy aims to ensure everyone understands what menopause is, can confidently have good conversations, and are clear on the Council’s policy and practices, supported by Human Resources and Occupational Health.

She said Council was committed to educating and informing managers about the potential symptoms of menopause, and how they can support women at work and ensuring that women suffering with menopause symptoms feel confident to discuss it and ask for support from a manager or HR who may recommend a referral to Occupational Health.

It is also hoped the new policy will reduce absenteeism due to menopausal symptoms.

The policy will come before Full Council later this month for ratification.