This can be from feeling less confident in a role, to not going for promotions to thinking about stopping work or changing careers.
In order for this to change for the better, there needs to be open and honest discussions about menopause in the workplace and how it affects employees. Employers and employees should have access to a range of tools and support to help women who are struggling with menopausal symptoms.
Some key facts
- The Equality Act 2010 tells us that although the menopause is not an illness or disability, the effects of the symptoms experienced can be disabling for women which means that employers who fail to properly support women could be found to be discriminatory.
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides for safe working, which includes working conditions when experiencing symptoms of the menopause.
- It has been estimated that there are around 13 million women who are currently peri or menopausal in the UK, which is about one third of the entire UK female population.
- According to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, almost 8 out of 10 of menopausal women are in work.
All organisations should have a menopause at work strategy (or one can be adopted, for example NHS Employers). There should be clear commitment that menopause is a workplace issue from the organisation, and this should involve reviewing developing any policies that are not in place, including working with trade unions.
Within these policies, line manages should have training in the signs and symptoms of menopause and how to manage, help and support their employees who may experiencing difficulties. This should include effective use of wellness/sick leave policies.
Other points of good practice include:
- raising awareness amongst employees
- providing menopause information sessions and/or a menopause café
- looking for patterns and sickness which may indicate an employee is struggling with menopause and/or has related women's health issue
and recognising this is a complex and emotional subject and will require sensitivity to talk about.
The menopause and work: guidance for RCN representatives (2020). This publication provides guidance to RCN Reps when working with colleagues going through the menopause. The document discusses symptoms, workplace policies, and recommendations for changes to both work patterns and the work environment. See: The menopause and work: guidance for RCN representatives.
Menopause. RCN guidance for nurses, midwives and health visitors (2020). This publication aims to help all health care professionals gain awareness of what happens to the body during menopause and in the post-menopausal stage, and examines the impact of these changes on women, outlining the options for health after menopause. See: Menopause: RCN guidance for nurses and midwives.
The Cross Government Menopause group has published the following publications on the menopause: