Healthcare Equity In The Workplace — How Are Kiwi Businesses Measuring Up In 2023?

Credit: Original article can be found here

If your employer isn’t offering you leave for menopause
or gender transitioning, it might be time to look for a new

When it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
(DEI) today’s workplaces have come a long way, and an
increasing number of companies are using DEI benefits to
stay competitive in their quest to attract and retain

A recent poll[1]
by Frog Recruitment highlighted the demand for menopause and
menstrual policies in New Zealand, shining the spotlight on
one of the ways employers could promote equity and support
the genuine needs of a vital group of their workforce. While
56 percent of poll participants thought New Zealand
businesses should offer paid menstrual leave, only five
percent of employers actually do.

With more than 60
percent of poll respondents admitting that menstrual pain or
perimenopause symptoms significantly impacted their
experience at work, Frog Recruitment Managing Director
Shannon Barlow believes employers should be putting it at
the top of their policy priority list.

“The New
Zealand workforce is made up of 830 000 women aged between
40 and 54 years[2]
and most will be experiencing varying stages of menopausal
transition that can last between two and twelve years. The
poll shows women are suffering significant menstrual or
perimenopause symptoms at work, and they’re doing it in
silence as until recently, the issues have been

“Whether you’re working at a small start-up
or are part of a large multinational, being an equitable
workplace is essential in our competitive
and global labour market,” she says. “More Kiwi
employers must catch up with the rest of the Western world
and start offering menopause policies and menstrual leave
— this can look like paid leave days, options to work from
home and a policy that is designed to normalise these issues
and ensure people do not need to use their sick leave for
their essential body functions.”

Barlow points out
that not all New Zealand employers are falling behind in
offering modern health policies.

“A number of Kiwi
businesses are doing diversity well. Fletcher Building
offers ten days of gender affirmation leave for staff who
are gender transitioning, and advertising company GroupM has
recently announced a new menopause policy to better support
women in the workplace. A collective of trade unions in
Australia is lobbying to legalise paid menstrual, and
menopause leave.”

As DEI policies build momentum,
New Zealand is catching up with countries like Netherlands,
Korea and Canada where equitable workplaces are the rule,
not the exception. Many offer benefits such as fertility
treatment cover but here in New Zealand, this is not common
practice, with less than 11 percent of poll respondents
being offered this in their current workplace.

says Kiwi businesses should be doing more to meet our
changing world.

“Employees today have much more on
their wish list. Staying competitive means perpetually
reviewing benefits and policies to ensure they fit our
rapidly evolving workforce. Equity can be embedded in
company policy in many forms and ensures fairness in culture
and nationality, education, race, sexuality and gender and

“The best way to attract and retain talent is
to ensure people feel recognised and valued. Leading with
equitable health benefits supports your employees through
the different stages of their working life, but will also
improve awareness of these issues, which can have a positive
impact on your whole workforce in a broader social

1 The Frog Recruitment Equity in the
online poll took place between February 18 –
20, 2023, with 1064 respondents.

2 People
employed, unemployed, not in labour force, by age
. March

© Scoop Media