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The Gym Group leads fitness industry to achieve menopause accreditation

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Recent research by the CIPD says as many as 1 in 4 UK businesses have a menopause policy and nearly half are taking action

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The Gym Group, a leading low-cost, nationwide gym company has become the first gym chain to achieve The Menopause Friendly Employer Accreditation, setting a new standard in the fitness industry.

The Menopause Friendly Accreditation is an industry-recognised, independent body that sets clear standards on best practices and support around menopause in the workplace in the UK.

“We are thrilled to have achieved this significant accreditation and to be recognised as a Menopause Friendly Employer. This accreditation is a mark of excellence for menopause in the workplace and recognises our commitment to creating a working environment where every employee feels supported and valued,” said Ruth Jackson, Chief People Officer, at The Gym Group.

“At The Gym Group, fostering an inclusive and open workplace will always be a priority for us, and we will continue championing these values into 2024.”

To become accredited, employers are rigorously assessed by an independent panel across six key areas of support: Culture, policies and practices, training, engagement, facilities, and evaluation. This includes demonstrating how they engage their teams in conversations and awareness of menopause at work, and how this positively impacts employees.

“Not only will its employees benefit from working in a menopause friendly environment, there will also be a valuable cascading effect to its gym members, customers and local communities,” says Deborah Garlick, CEO and founder of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace.

Back in 2016, few employers in the UK had a menopause policy. That picture has changed dramatically, with recent research by the CIPD saying as many as 1 in 4 have a policy and nearly half are taking action. 

Commitment to women

This accreditation follows the launch of The Gym Group’s sector-first Female Health First programme in partnership with The Well HQ. The programme equips trainers and fitness instructors with the specialist knowledge to support female members at different life stages, helping to foster a more welcoming gym environment.

The Gym Group also set up a Menopause Hub and employee network group to support with women’s health concerns, and to further break the stigma around menopause through ongoing awareness and communication.

The Gym Group has also implemented several new family-friendly policies, including Fertility Treatment Leave policy, Neonatal Care Leave policy, Carers Leave policy and Pregnancy Loss policy, underscoring its commitment to comprehensive employee wellbeing and care.

The Gym Group was a pioneer of the low-cost gym model, and now operates 233 high quality sites across the UK. These gyms offer 24/7 opening and flexible, no-contract membership.

The business case for menopause policies

Organizations focused on financial health are discovering the cost-saving benefits of being menopause friendly. This approach encompasses retaining talent, enhancing recruitment, reducing sick leave, and boosting productivity.

Significantly, The Fawcett Report highlights that menopause can impact career trajectories, with 10% of women leaving jobs and many reducing work hours due to menopausal symptoms.

Acknowledging and supporting menopausal symptoms not only enhances productivity by removing physical and psychological barriers but also fosters employee well-being.

A menopause-friendly environment signals a commitment to inclusivity and employee care, boosting mental health and job satisfaction.

The ageing workforce

With the UK’s ageing population and a competitive recruitment landscape, being menopause friendly is becoming a differentiator in attracting talent. The Menopause Friendly Accreditation emerges as a key factor for job seekers, emphasizing its growing importance in HR strategies.

With increasing employment tribunals citing menopause, the financial and reputational risks of non-compliance are significant. Menopause-friendly policies not only reduce these risks but also enhance the employer brand.

Achieving this accreditation is not just about ticking boxes or having a policy. It involves tangible, sustainable changes and offers a platform for collaboration and idea-sharing among like-minded organizations. This approach not only saves time but also ensures measurable impacts, setting accredited employers apart as leaders in this field.

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