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Menopause: Women Leaving the Workplace

Volume 708: debated on Monday 7 February 2022

2. What assessment she has made of the economic impact of women claiming benefits after leaving the workplace early due to symptoms of the menopause. (905447)

Too many women feel forced to leave work, reduce their hours or take a step back in their careers because of the impact of the menopause. That is why I asked my Department for Work and Pensions “50 PLUS: Choices” team to work with employer organisations and produce the “Menopause and Employment” report. I will be responding to the recommendations in the report shortly.

A poll by the Fawcett Society reported that a quarter of employees currently experiencing the menopause said they would consider leaving the workforce. Furthermore, 10% are actually doing so. That is one in 10 experienced and talented women who have symptoms of the menopause leaving their jobs and their incomes, and potentially entering the benefit system. I know the Minister understands the issues that these women are facing, so would she consider creating a resource specific to women and their employers to help them overcome those barriers and keep more women in work?

I absolutely agree about the challenges when it comes to employment. That leads us to the need for a longer-term plan for pensions and everything that comes with it. Indeed, one in 100 women experience menopause by the age of 40. The hon. Lady and I were both in the first cross-Government taskforce, with the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Maria Caulfield), on Thursday. This is a key agenda point, and I look forward to working with the hon. Lady on it.