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Menopause support at work and how to get it right

New guidance on menopausal support in the workplace has been released by The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), urging employers to support employees going through the menopause.

The guidance aims to help employers understand their legal obligations and highlights the need for reasonable workplace adjustments for those experiencing menopausal symptoms. Failure to do so could potentially result in legal consequences.

Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Fawcett Society, and pointed to in the EHRC guidance, shows the symptoms of menopause can have a significant impact on women at work.

Their research found that two thirds of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms said they had a mostly negative impact on them at work including. The negative impacts included:

  • Lack of concentration
  • More stress
  • Feeling less patient with clients and colleagues
  • Less physically able to carry out work tasks.

What is the menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of aging when a woman’s periods stop due to lower hormone levels. It usually affects woman between the ages of 45 and 55, but can happen earlier.

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences menopause is a woman. Transgender, non-binary, and intersex people may also experience menopause and will have specific needs in the workplace.

There are various stages for menopause, so as an employer, it’s important to be clear about these stages when discussing with employees.

Menopause can happen naturally, or for reasons such as surgery, cancer treatments, a genetic reason, or an unknown reason.

  • Perimenopause is when symptoms of menopause are experienced but periods have not stopped.
  • Menopause is reached and perimenopause ends when an individual has not had not had a period for 12 months.
  • Post-menopause is any time after menopause.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of menopause and perimenopause can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Hot flushes
  • Irregular periods

The symptoms can start many years before periods stop and carry on afterwards, and can have a huge impact on a person’s life, relationships and work.

More information about the menopause and peri-menopause can be accessed on the NHS website at:

Reasonable adjustments for Employees going through Menopause?

Menopausal symptoms could be considered a disability if they have a long term impact on a woman’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If they do amount to a disability, under the Equality Act 2010, an employer will be under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

Examples of reasonable adjustments include:

  • Modifying the physical work environment
  • New or revised flexible working arrangements
  • Relaxing dress codes
  • Changes to working temperatures
  • Access to a quite/cool area or room
  • Changes to performance management targets

If an employer fails to make these kinds of reasonable adjustments, it could lead to claims of disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, in turn emphasising the importance of recognising menopause as a significant workplace issue.

The importance of menopause support in the workplace

There are a number of reasons why good menopause support in the workplace is now vital for your business, including:

  • Helps to retain talent by supporting women through menopause
  • Helps to ensures that anyone experiencing menopausal symptoms gets the same support and understanding as if they had any other health issue
  • Creates an inclusive and supportive culture
  • Increases wellbeing and morale in the workforce

There are a number of tools that employers can use to help embed their menopause support for employees.

Having a solid menopause policy can help ensure support is clear and easily accessible to colleagues. A good policy should include information about what help is available to employees, and help managers to understand their responsibilities better.

Menopause training at work for all employees can educate and raise awareness for all levels of seniority.

Using HR software to track menopause sickness and related absence can help with accurate reporting and reasonable adjustments.

Here at Bedrock, our team have extensive experience of helping clients to develop effective workforce strategies. We would be very happy to discuss your needs and assist you with reviewing menopause practices and policies.


Menopause at Work and how to get it right

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