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Should the ‘mo’ go?

Should the ‘mo’ go? (Last Updated On: November 9, 2016)

November is increasingly becoming known as Movember, the month that men let their moustaches grow in order to raise awareness of various male health issues, in particular prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. However, what does this mean for employers who dislike their employees having a ‘mo’?

While many employers may perceive a moustache or beard to be untidy, or unprofessional, the mo is there to shed light on the fact that men suffer worse longer term health than women, and statistically die on average, six years earlier. Studies have shown that male cancer rates will more than double in the next 15 years, and poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own lives every year.

Movember is a fantastic initiative aiming to raise awareness on some very important issues, yet, this does not mean that employers cannot put parameters down for any employees who are wishing to grow out their moustache this November.

If an employee wishes to grow out their moustache to raise money for Movember, they should seek their employer’s approval beforehand. Although great for charities, facial hair can quickly become an issue for employers, especially if the employee in question decides to go all out for Movember and dye or elaborately style their moustache, and are in a customer facing role.

Employers can request that moustaches stay well groomed, and kept to the physical standard specified in their employment handbooks. Dress codes policies generally specify the rules and regulations employers have in regards to clothing, piercings, tattoos, makeup, nails, and facial hair in the workplace. So long as this policy does not discriminate against any  particular employee, it is perfectly reasonable to request that any employee who is participating in Movember ensures they do not breach the company’s dress code.

Movember is also a great way to raise awareness of mental health in your workplace. A study conducted by the Movember Foundation found that 50% of Australian males would not feel comfortable speaking to their bosses in regards to their mental health. So, as an employer, why not use Movember to get your male employees beginning the conversation around their mental health? Encourage your employees to feel that there is no need to hide their struggles, and that they can come to you with any concerns or questions.

If you would like to help your staff and provide a supportive workplace, or would like further information on how to draft and implement a dress code for your business, contact Employsure today. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, we can assist with any questions you may have in regards to employee health and safety, or your employer obligations. Call us today on 1300 651 415.

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