Woman with crossed hands

Unum UK to support staff with new reproductive health policy to help #BreakTheBias

  • Leading employee benefits provider Unum UK is now offering enhanced support for their staff going through menopause, as more employers recognise the issue facing female colleagues
  • Unum is offering its 700+ UK staff access to additional resources and internal programmes
  • Unum are also offering paid leave for employees and their partners undergoing fertility treatment, as well as flexible arrangements for those suffering with menstruation symptoms

In line with International Women’s Day 2022, Unum is removing the taboo around women’s health to help #BreakTheBias by releasing a new reproductive health policy to its 700+ staff in the UK.

After recent research found that a quarter of employees currently experiencing the menopause said their experience has made them more likely to leave the workforce before retirement,1 Unum partnered with private health care provider Bupa to offer all employees with female reproductive organs free access to Bupa’s Menopause Plan.

This includes:

  • 45 minutes with an experienced menopause trained GP to help identify symptoms, answer concerns and advise on treatments or next steps
  • A 15-minute check-in 12 weeks later to talk through changes and improvements
  • 24/7 anytime health line for unlimited nurse advice for 12 months following their first appointment

In addition, all employees and their partners can access a menopause-trained GP via Help@hand, Unum’s award-winning health and wellbeing app. The remote GP service allows them to book an appointment 24/7 with a GP after narrowing down their choice of doctor to those with a speciality in female reproductive health and/or menopause.

One in ten employees working in financial services is currently experiencing menopause,2 which can often cause distressing symptoms. With this in mind, Unum has made this move to encourage conversations about reproductive health and improve support to reduce stress, improve productivity and workforce productivity.

With results from the Government’s ‘Women’s Health – Let’s talk about it’ survey in December 2021 showing that fewer than 1 in 10 women feel they have enough information on the menopause,3 Unum seeks to destigmatise the topic and normalise discussion about it. That includes offering enhanced resources for employees and their managers to help people impacted with symptoms — both physical and mental — in the workplace.

For fertility treatment, in recognition that 53,000 people undergo IVF cycles each year,4 Unum’s new policy also offers employees (and their partners) undergoing fertility treatment up to 5 days of paid leave to attend fertility appointments or have treatment.

Unum also recognises that menstruation can also cause significant disruption to regular activities and is a legitimate ongoing health condition and so are offering flexible arrangements for those suffering with heavy, painful periods or other exacerbated symptoms.

Jane Hulme, HR Director at Unum UK commented:

“Our ethos is to put people at the heart of employee benefits and ensure that they can bring their whole self to work. To do that, we need to ensure we have policies that respond to the needs of our people, especially when it comes to topics surrounding reproductive health such as menstruation, menopause and infertility that are too often seen as taboo. As a growing company, we want to ensure we nurture and retain the best talent through different stages of their working life”.

More information

1 Menopause in the Workplace: Impact on Women in Financial Services report, 2021 https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/menopause-in-the-workplace-impact-on-women-in-financial-services
2 Menopause in the Workplace: Impact on Women in Financial Services report, 2021
3 ‘Women’s Health – Let’s talk about it’ survey, Department of Health & Social Care, December 2021
4 Fertility treatment 2019: trends and figures, Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority

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