James Timpson, the CEO of the retailer best known for key cutting and shoe repairs, announced on Twitter that ‘…all my colleagues can claim on expenses their prescription costs when they are recommended HRT. It’s so important that we support our colleagues going through the menopause.’
The offer comes as a bill by the Labour MP Carolyn Harris to abolish charges for hormone replacement therapy is due to be heard in parliament on 29 October. Women and equalities committee chair Caroline Nokes said: “This is brilliant news from Timpson – a company which seems to be leading the way on so many issues at the moment. Hopefully, Carolyn Harris’s private member’s bill will make progress next week and we will see the government recognise the massive impact menopause has on women’s lives.”
Nokes said the government was not ruling out the possibility of making menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, which would give employees who felt they had been discriminated against because of their symptoms better access to recourse at tribunals.
HRT is a treatment, usually in the form of a daily tablet, that helps ease the symptoms of menopause by replacing the oestrogen and progesterone hormones that a woman’s body no longer produces. Prescriptions are free in Wales and Scotland, but in England, patients pay £9.34 for each item.
Jenny Haskey, the chief executive of The Menopause Charity, said 1.6m sick days were lost every year, with an estimated 900,000 women leaving work entirely due to the impact of the menopause. One in four women who experience menopausal symptoms – many at the top of their career – consider leaving their job. She added that more companies should follow Timpson’s lead.
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