Menopause Awareness in the Workplace

The menopause is a huge subject that for so long has gone under the radar, but thankfully for so many women, it is at long last seeing the light of day.

Menopause symptoms can be debilitating and have a significant impact on both mental and physical health, making a woman’s ability to participate effectively in the workplace extremely challenging, sometimes impossible. These symptoms are wide-ranging and can start during the perimenopause, affecting women from as young as late 30s to early 40s and beyond.

There have been many surveys on this carried out, with between 6 to 9 out of 10 women reporting that the menopause had had a negative impact on their work – a huge proportion of the overall workforce.

With women over 40 making up an increasing proportion of the working population, it is every employer’s duty to understand the impact the menopause can have on many women and how they can help and support these women to ensure they are able to remain a valuable part of the organisation.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, so what can you do as an employer?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Raise awareness, understanding and education of the menopause.
  • Encourage and promote an environment of openness and transparency where everyone can talk about menopause.
  • Ensure employees feel comfortable talking to their line managers, and in turn that managers feel confident to have supportive conversations with employees.
  • Provide access to occupational health if needed.
  • Offer appropriate reasonable adjustments and support, bearing in mind that all women experience menopause differently – conducting risk assessments, to include any specific risks to menopausal women is advisable.