Bank of Ireland Group is offering paid leave for women employees going through menopause, joining a growing list of companies trying to prevent women from exiting the workforce.
Employees will be able to take up to 10 days off a year if they experience physical or psychological symptoms related to menopause, the bank announced Wednesday.
The bank, which employs around 9,800 people worldwide, will also train managers on how to support colleagues going through menopause. Most of its employees are based in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“We want to help our colleagues at all stages of their lives including the menopause,” Joanne Healy, the bank’s head of employee relations, said in a statement. “This will help us continue to build a work environment in which everyone is treated with fairness, dignity and respect,” she added.
The announcement was made during Ireland’s first ever Menopause Awareness Week and comes as a growing number of companies in Britain and Europe, including Danske Bank and Deloitte, introduce policies targeting menopause.
Earlier this year, the UK government set up a Menopause Taskforce to investigate the affect that menopause has on women’s working lives, particularly later on in their careers.
According to a study by Ireland’s department of health, more than half of women in menopause report symptoms that include fatigue, sleeping problems, joint pain and hot flushes. Less than one third said they would feel comfortable talking to their manager about their experiences, the study found.
Bank of Ireland’s policy comes as new research published Tuesday by McKinsey & Co. showed that women in leadership roles in the United States are more likely than ever to quit because of being treated unfairly at work. Women in senior positions were more than 1.5 times more likely than their male peers to have left a job because they wanted to work for a company more committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the researcher.
In the United Kingdom, one in 10 employed women experiencing menopause quit their jobs because of their symptoms, according to a report this year by the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity. A separate survey by Standard Chartered Bank and Britain’s Financial Services Skills Commission found that a quarter of women are more likely to retire early because of menopause.