Marelli launches menopause policy as part of Employee Wellbeing Programme

Traditionally a male dominated industry, the automotive sector is making great strides towards a more diversified and inclusive workforce. However, one area that has remained relatively untapped until recent years is the support around menopause in the workplace.

Menopause affects 100 per cent of women, with eight out of 10 menopausal women in work. Alarmingly, through lack of understanding, knowledge and reasonable workplace adjustments, almost a million women in the UK have left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms.

As more employers look to enhance their wellbeing programmes to aid employee retention and attract more talent in a challenging market, menopause support is being championed.

First tier automotive supplier, Marelli, started on its menopause journey back in 2022 after members of the senior management team recognised the support and awareness across the business was lacking. The senior management team connected with Miss Menopause who delivered a Menopause Awareness in the Workplace training session.

Miss Menopause, set up by Sharon MacArthur, educates employers and employees of businesses large or small about what to expect regarding the menopause, and how best to manage it. It was created to fill the void of educational services needed by women and their organisations as they reach menopause.

Hailed as an insightful, yet entertaining, training session for both men and women, Marelli has now sent over 100 of its Supervisors, Managers and Directors on the Miss Menopause awareness training held at Sunderland University. Initially faced with some resistance, particularly the male workforce, after attending the training, employees commented on what an excellent session it was. People managers now have a toolkit and the understanding to be able to support both men and women dealing with menopause in the workplace.

As a result of this active engagement, a menopause working group was formulated to review procedures and support in the workplace, including the introduction of sanitary supplies in the ladies toilets. The group has helped to develop a formal Menopause Policy which has now been issued to all Marelli staff. The policy acknowledges reasonable workplace adjustments that Marelli is willing to put in place for its employees to ensure anyone affected by menopause symptoms are supported. This includes job sharing arrangements, shift pattern reviews and additional unform requests, as well as fostering an open dialogue on the subject.

Dawn Prior, HR Direct at Marelli said: “The feedback from the Miss Menopause training sessions has been incredibly positive and has made a bigger impact that we expected. To know that we’ve helped equip our employees on the signs and symptoms of menopause so that they can not only help other colleagues at work but also their families, is a great sense of satisfaction. We’ve even had employees acknowledge that the training has helped save their marriage!

“We have then formalised our commitment to supporting employees in this area by publishing a Menopause Policy and are sharing our North East best practice with European colleagues through the Marelli HR group.”

Sharon MacArthur, Miss Menopause, said: “It has been brilliant working with Marelli and all of their people. Menopause will impact everyone directly or indirectly so it’s really great to see how investing in menopause education has improved health and wellbeing for everyone.”

The policy is part of Marelli’s wider Employee Wellbeing Programme to support its most valuable asset – people. With nearly 25% of the workforce in the North East having dedicated over 20 years of service to Marelli, the business is keen to nurture good health and wellbeing practices to maintain employee commitment and organisational performance.

Marelli is working towards the Better Health at Work Award accreditation. The award provides a framework and helps to structure health and wellbeing programmes. The application has been submitted and Marelli has been using the framework throughout 2023.

Dawn added: “We’re keen that we continue to evaluate and develop our wellbeing programme to ensure it supports the needs of our employees. By following the Better Health at Work Award framework we’re embedding health and wellbeing within our culture and have developed inclusive programmes for our staff across our three UK sites.”