Nottinghamshire, UK – A UK police department has instituted a whole new set of policies for female officers going through menopause, including giving them “crying rooms” and letting them control the police station’s thermostat.
As unusual as the menopause policy might seem, the Nottinghamshire Police are not the first ones to introduce it in their UK workspace. Leicester University, Severn Trent Water and energy company E.ON. have already introduced the same sort of policies to avoid being sued for discrimination, according to the Daily Mail.
Critics have called the new policies – which include allowing female officers to do fitness tests one-on-one because running in front of a male colleague can be a confidence buster – patronizing and insulting.
“The police are being indulgent,” said Sam Taylor, editor of The Lady magazine. “By the time a woman hits her mid-40s, she really should be able to pull herself together when she’s having a hot flush.”
“I work in a magazine full of middle-aged women and if they feel a bit overwrought, they go home after work and have a stiff gin and tonic or mainline chocolate Hobnobs and sweet tea,” Taylor said.
Advocates of the police department’s new policy believed menopause deserved the same perks as pregnancy.
“Nobody would argue against the need and value of maternity policies, which took decades to roll out,” Deborah Garlick, founder of a support network called Henpicked, told the Daily Mail. “We would like to see menopause policies accelerated and implemented much faster than that.”
The Nottinghamshire Police’s new policy said menopausal women should be allowed to take frequent breaks, have easy access to toilets and showers, and be given desks with a breeze or given a fan, according to the Daily Mail.
The policy also dictated that female officers should be able to change their uniform or remove unnecessary layers to cope with hot flushes. They should also have “private areas” where they can “rest temporarily, cry or talk with a colleague.”
Strangely, the police department’s new policy also permitted dispensing with basic law enforcement safety measures.
“Frontline officers may also be permitted to dispense with body armour if it proves uncomfortable,” the Sun reported.
Member of Parliament David Davies called the new policy “insulting.”
"I don't think they need to be told they may need a private space to cry,” Davies said. "That's a little bit insulting to women officers who confront very tough situations on a daily basis."