Friday, 22 October 2021 10:51

Menopause and the Workplace


The menopause isn’t anything new, it’s been around since at least the dawn of humanity. Very recently however, it has come to the forefront of public attention and ignited a abundance of media and industry coverage. Indeed, Menopause Day was last Monday 18th October.

Just as the taboo of open discussion around Mental Health has dissipated throughout the Covid crisis, it seems that similar barriers or feelings of discomfort about discussing the menopause are also disappearing. A dialogue is now taking place about gaining a better understanding of the menopause and its impact; and in particular its effects in the workplace.

Simply put, the menopause is the cessation of menstrual periods for a period of 12 consecutive months. Hormonal fluctuations are a result of this which cause a number of symptoms associated with the menopause. Most commonly these symptoms are hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, forgetfulness and mood swings. Other symptoms exists but there is absolutely no measure of who will experience which symptoms and to what degree.

The menopause usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age of those experiencing it in the UK being 51. It’s clear to see then that there is potential for a large number of workers to be going through it at any one time.

For those who experience symptoms more severely, there can be some significant effects that lead to loss of confidence and feelings of depression and anxiety. There’s a real benefit then in more employers recognising the need to understand the menopause more, and how offering support to team members will help to retain valuable team members.

Creating an open culture where individuals feel comfortable to say that they are struggling with symptoms with out fear of reprisal or being treated differently should be a goal of all employers. We know that, whilst not accurately definable, the menopause is only temporary and so some flexible working initiatives could be initiated that support employees during the time they are affected. For example, temporarily reducing the workload or a temporary change of roles and responsibilities.

Of course, a professional, confidential, and sensitive approach from your management team goes without saying.

Whilst we’ve spoken here predominantly about the impact of the menopause on women, we should also remember that partners may be indirectly affected. It’s not uncommon for symptoms to create stresses and strains on relationships which may in turn affect the performance of staff members who are not experiencing the menopause themselves.

That said, the male equivalent, the andropause, is also gaining wider recognition and transgender individuals are equally likely to experience symptoms.

As we’ve already said, there is a wealth of information currently available, on the Internet and in the media so it’s easy to be overwhelmed and not know where or how to start. To help, we’ve compiled this short list of quick wins so that you can take steps and easily implement some measures to help you create that inclusive and open culture:

  1. Have a practical and inclusive menopause policy for your business. You can download one from our website here. There’s also a detailed fact sheet.
  2. Ensure your managers understand your policy and are trained and confident to have sensitive and confidential conversations.
  3. Consider a wellbeing or menopause champion. Someone that can be spoken to in confidence.
  4. Raise awareness of the menopause across the business. This might be simply highlighting articles like this one.
  5. Some simple and inexpensive reasonable adjustments can be made for individuals who may be experiencing symptoms. Think desk fans, sited near a window and close to toilets and cold drinking water.
  6. Remind staff of what’s included in your employee assistance programmes. For example, taking advantage of 24/7 GP appointments or counselling services.

As usual we’re here to help and advise on this topic and anything else regarding HR and Employment Law. Call us on 01452 331331 or drop us an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 900 times Last modified on Friday, 22 October 2021 11:59


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