Fertility benefits are becoming more common in the workplace, helping employees pursue fertility healthcare, adoption, and other journeys. But far too often, workplace conversations about this critical area of healthcare are limited exclusively to having children. The same hormones that impact our fertility also impact other areas of our health, especially as we age. And hormonal aging like menopause can have a significant impact on productivity and even employee retention, ultimately leading to higher costs for employers. Age-inclusive fertility benefits can offset these costs — let’s get into what those resources can look like.
What is menopause?
Menopause is when someone who previously had periods stops having them for at least 12 months. The average age for menopause is 51, but symptoms can begin up to a decade prior to the perimenopause or menopausal transition period.
An estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide will have experienced menopause by 2025 Many of your employees are likely managing common symptoms like hot flashes and lesser-known side effects such as sleep loss and mood-related symptoms. With 40% of people experiencing menopausal symptoms revealing that their symptoms interfere with their job performance, going through menopause can be particularly difficult and isolating. Nearly one in five even considered leaving their job because of a lack of support for this experience.
The impact of menopause in the workplace comes with a lot of stigma. Despite the fact that half of the population goes through menopause, 42% of women say they’ve never discussed menopause with a healthcare provider, and only one in five women have received a referral to a menopause specialist — leaving people suffering alone and without the right care.
Workplace costs associated with menopause
Menopause can be incredibly disruptive for employees at work. Symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and memory lapses, paired with everyday stressors from work, can make employees less productive. This phenomenon –– where employees are at work but less focused –– is known as presenteeism. Research suggests that presenteeism costs employers 10 times more than absenteeism — when employees decide to take off for personal matters. And considering many of your managers and workplace leaders may be at or nearing menopause age, this could be detrimental to them and their teams. By understanding the impact of these symptoms and offering flexibility and resources for symptom management, employers can create a supportive environment where employees can take care of themselves and keep up with their work.
Employee turnover and early retirement
Menopause can be stressful, and because of virtually nonexistent support, some studies suggest people would leave their jobs and retire early because of symptoms. 70% of employees going through menopause have considered making a work-related change to better manage symptoms, including looking for remote work. Nearly 20% of people going through menopause say they may consider leaving the workforce because their symptoms significantly interfere with their quality of life. A 2019 UK study found that 900,000 women quit their jobs due to menopause. Without support, these trends will likely continue. And since it can cost one-half to two times the employee's annual salary to replace them –– and even more for a senior leader –– menopause support can go a long way when it comes to reducing costs.
Roughly 60% of women going through menopause will consult a healthcare provider. And even then, only one out of five OB/GYNs in the U.S are trained in menopause care, and while all U.S reproductive endocrinologists are trained, not all accept menopause patients. Many will not seek support at all and increase their risk of developing more severe and costly conditions, like osteoporosis, due to unmanaged menopause. Carrot ensures that your employees have access to the support they need through experts and care navigation that can direct them toward care. Regular and accurate medical care upfront reduces the need for costly outpatient visits and unnecessary pharmacy costs later on.
While discussing menopause may still be taboo in the workplace, its impact is very real. Now is the time for employers to start considering the impact on their employees and the costs it has for them. Without support, employees who enter menopause can become less productive, unsatisfied, and even driven to leave their jobs. But with comprehensive fertility healthcare benefits, like Carrot, employers can offer inclusive support for their employees at all stages of their lives.
If you’re looking to support your employees’ fertility healthcare needs, regardless of age, we can help. Get in touch with us today.