Menopause in the Workplace

November 3, 2021

In the UK, roughly three and a half million working women over the age of 50 suffer from symptoms of menopause or perimenopause. And this demographic is growing. Recent research by BUPA found that almost one million women have left their job because of menopause symptoms, exposing many UK businesses to the threat of losing their most experienced female talent.

Independent research for Vodafone, conducted by Opinium, found that a third of employees hid their symptoms at work, with 50% feeling that there is stigma around talking about the menopause. 63% of those surveyed in the UK said that they felt too embarrassed to ask for support

According to the latest UK data collected by Menopause Experts, there were five employment tribunals referencing the claimant’s menopause in 2018, six in 2019 and 16 in 2020. There have been 10 in the first six months of 2021 alone.

Along with mental health and other debilitating illnesses, menopause should not be regarded as a taboo subject. Creating a supportive and inclusive work culture is a crucial first step to open and honest dialogue with your staff.

In this article, we explore ways to support your employees who are suffering from symptoms of menopause.

Provide information on support available to menopausal women.

In addition to treatments available from the NHS, there are also self-help tips and support groups available. Have this information prepared and available for your workforce, should they need it.

Provide an employee assistance programme. 

An employee assistance programme offers support to employees on a whole range of personal or health issues. But managers can also benefit by accessing advice on adapting working conditions to make them more “menopause friendly”.

Review your current policies. 

Do existing policies make it harder for women who are going through menopause? For example, The Bradford Factor, used by HR teams to measure absence, works on the basis that short, frequent and unplanned absences are more disruptive than long absences away from the office. This means someone on long term sick would be looked upon more favourably than someone dealing with menopausal symptoms.

Consider having a workplace wellbeing policy. 

Encouraging employee wellbeing in the workplace should play a pivotal part in every business. Creating a policy that supports your employee’s physical and mental wellbeing will reduce absenteeism and staff turnover and enhance employee productivity. In addition, a policy that recognises menopause is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and offer support.

Promote empathic leadership

A line manager will be the first point of contact for any employee experiencing health issues in the workplace. Make sure they are suitably trained and able to have sensitive conversations with their staff. Acas offers practical written guidance for line managers on how to manage challenging conversations.

These are all great initiatives for breaking down barriers and opening new dialogue. However, if you feel like you need some specialised support, Vero HR offers a range of HR Outsourcing services to meet the needs of your business. Please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01733 830830 or email us at enquiries@verohr.co.uk.

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