Ryan Bridge shuns idea of menopause leave after Hipkins, Luxon both endorse it

  • 28/09/2023

Ryan Bridge shocked AM co-host Laura Tupou on Thursday morning by pouring cold water on the idea of menopause leave for women, suggesting sick leave should be used instead. 

That came after the topic was raised at Wednesday night's Newshub Leaders Debate, where both Labour leader Chris Hipkins and National leader Christopher Luxon endorsed the idea. 

"Should New Zealand introduce menopause leave for women?" asked debate host Patrick Gower. 

"Yes," said Hipkins. 

"I haven't thought about it before, to be honest, Paddy, but I'm open to looking at it," said Luxon. 

Menopause marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and is diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without a period. It usually happens in your 40s or 50s. 

About 70 percent of women have significant symptoms with menopause and 40 percent will see a doctor because of their symptoms, according to Healthify.

Bridge said he didn't understand the concept of menopause leave and joked its introduction could complicate solving the gender pay gap. 

"Well, what exactly is menopause leave? How do you qualify for menopause leave?" he asked. "We all just have sick leave and if you have an issue - whether it's menopause or whether it's whatever else - you take your sick leave. Why do you need a special menopause leave? I don't understand. 

"Wouldn't the question be: should you get more sick leave? Should everyone get more sick leave?"

He then jokingly said: "We want to close the gender pay gap, you know, because men and women shouldn't be so different that we get paid separately different amounts, right? But then on the other hand... you're saying you want more leave."  

Tupou responded: "I feel like there are a lot of women at home right now wanting to shake you!" 

Where you can find help:

  • Sexy Ageing podcast by Tracy Minnoch-Nuku: Minnoch-Nuku's journey to understanding her peri-menopause and her talks with experts about what you can do.
  • My Menopause Memoir by Tracy Minnoch-Nuku: Minnoch-Nuku's symptoms and what helped her with each one.
  • This Changes Everything: The Honest Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause by Niki Bezzant: A detailed practical guide on how to manage your journey.
  • Don't Sweat It: How to make 'the change' a good one by Nicky Pellegrino: A funny and frank book on menopause and perimenopause. 
  • Menopause over Martinis Facebook group
  • Menopause Awareness & Action Community (MAAC) group on LinkedIn
  • Power Pause
  • Australasian Menopause Society, which lists menopause doctors in New Zealand.