Endometriosis UK statement in response to Parliamentary debate on endometriosis in the workplace

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Westminster Hall debate on endometriosis workplace support has been scheduled for Tuesday 29 October 2019 in the House of Commons. 

Commenting on the debate, Angela Style, Chair of Endometriosis UK said: “With female employment rates higher than ever before and endometriosis costing the UK economy £8.2 billion a year in loss of work, treatment, and healthcare costs, endometriosis is an issue employers and the Government can no longer afford to ignore. Endometriosis affects over 1.5 million women in the UK and the impact it can have on all aspects of a person’s working life – both physically and mentally - must be recognised.

"Menstrual health is all too often brushed under the carpet by employers who are too embarrassed to talk about it. It’s time that changed – and MPs have an opportunity to turn the conversation around to give greater support to the 1.5 million in the UK living with endometriosis. If the Government really wants to help women thrive in the workplace, it’s time they started to take endometriosis seriously”.

"Endometriosis UK is committed to supporting people with endometriosis in the workplace. We are delighted to have already launched an Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme to support organisations in understanding what simple adjustments can be made to help those with endometriosis deliver their job effectively whilst managing a chronic condition". For more information visit: https://endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-friendly-employer-scheme

As part of the debate, Endometriosis UK is calling on the Government to:

•Ensure those with endometriosis have the statutory support they need and don’t face discrimination due to the societal taboos around menstrual conditions. This includes PIP and other disability allowances – ensuring guidance around endometriosis and its impact on work is clear so that those assessing an individual’s application understand the debilitating impact endometriosis can have on a person’s life.

•Ensure those with the disease have access to Statutory Sick Pay. The current definition and criteria for Statutory Sick Pay fails to recognise long-term conditions like endometriosis. SSP is only available to an employee for a linked period of sickness for a maximum of three years – which penalises those with chronic, long term conditions like endometriosis where the symptoms can be felt for life. As part of this, we want those with endometriosis to be supported through recognition in both guidance to employers and Statutory Sick Pay that chronic conditions may result in intermittent (eg monthly) rather than continual symptoms. In this way, those with the disease will be able to thrive in the workplace without discrimination.

•Work with the NHS to ensure people with endometriosis have access to the right support at the right time to limit time needed off work. The NHS needs to wake up to the scale of endometriosis and plan services to support all those who need it. Endometriosis can no longer be brushed under the carpet, it needs to be taken seriously by those planning and commissioning NHS services. The Government also needs to ensure that access to pain management services are available to all those suffering from severe, chronic pain that endometriosis can cause, so relying on strong prescription painkillers or strong opioid drugs is not the only option and other interventions such as physiotherapy can be tried.

For further information, please email Endometriosis UK's Campaigns and Communications Manager Faye Farthing on communications@endometriosis-uk.org