Menopause in the Workplace

First published on Friday, Feb 18, 2022

Last updated on Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024

With the population now living longer, it is vital that you support your employee’s health and wellbeing.

For those who experience symptoms at work, it can be a stressful time. Many may experience serious physical and mental symptoms which could affect their working lives.

To reduce the symptoms, you should support your employees going through menopause. If an employee is not supported or even mistreated, you could face discrimination claims and a hefty fine.

In this guide, we’ll explain what menopause at work is, menopause rights, and the best way to support it at work.

What is Menopause at Work?

Menopause is when someone stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.

It usually occurs between the age of 45 and 55 years old but can happen later in life.

Menopause affects the following people:

  • Women.
  • Trans people.
  • Intersex people.
  • Non-binary people.

Menopause at work is a natural stage of life that affects about half of the population.

There are three different stages to menopause, such as: * Perimenopause: the transitional period before menopause. * Menopause: when someone has missed their period for 12 straight months. * Postmenopause: the period after someone has gone through menopause.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Symptoms can be experienced up to 3 months before menopause begins. These can include:

  • Hot flashes.
  • A lack of sleep.
  • Mood changes.
  • Thinning hair or dry skin.
  • Weight gain.

For your employee to feel comfortable at work, you should make adjustments. Establish changes that could be made to lessen the symptoms:

  • Add desk fans to reduce hot flashes.
  • Offer flexible working to allow for a lack of sleep.
  • Communicate to reduce mood changes.
  • Allowing menopausal employees to attend medical appointments.
  • Providing a quiet rest area.
  • The option to take breaks throughout the day.

It should be noted that these changes are only temporary and long-term measures need to be taken.

Menopause Rights at Work

Menopause in the workplace is covered under the Equality Act 2010. It’s covered under the three protected characteristics:

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to support the health & safety of your employees at work.

This could include a menopause policy at work. A policy can encourage menopausal employees to have open conversations about what they’re experiencing. It can also relieve any stress they may have about any symptoms they have.

If you don’t have one, your sickness policy and flexible working policies may cover menopause at work.

Managing Menopause at Work

Managing someone with menopause at work should be handled with care. You need to acknowledge that this is a sensitive and personal subject for your employee.

You need to support your employees and can help the employee with:

  • Losing confidence in their ability.
  • Acting like they need to hide reasons for wanting time off.
  • Increasing stress, anxiety, or depression at work.
  • Leaving their position.

Your employees should know you are there to help with these issues. But HR should always be an option to help your employees with personal issues.

By adopting a supportive approach to employees suffering from menopause, you can avoid costly discrimination claims.

Get Advice on Menopause and Work with BrightHR

As an employer, you have a duty of care towards all of your employee’s wellbeing. Menopausal employees can be supported for through adjustments and open communication.

This grows respect, value, and trust–allowing them to continue working with confidence.

If you neglect them, you could face discrimination claims and damage to your company’s reputation.

BrightHR can help you manage menopause at work with ease. If you need help with creating a menopause policy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Book in a free demo today to see how easy it is. Give us a call on 1 0800 783 2806.

Lucy Cobb

Employment Law Specialist

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