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Menopause in the Workplace: An Employers Guide

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Research has shown that many women have been forced to leave their job because of menopausal symptoms, and over half of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 reported that menopausal symptoms had a mostly negative impact on them at work.[1]

It is therefore vital that employers understand what support to offer to workers who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Why should an employer think about menopause?

Employee retention is at the forefront of most business plans. Having the right level of support can help prevent the loss of any employees who might not be able to work through the symptoms. Additionally, encouraging a culture where workers feels able to discuss their symptoms and request adjustments could make the business a more desirable place to work, which will benefit both retention and recruitment. After all, most people will want to work for an employer who supports them and values their contributions.

What are the consequences for employers who fail to meet their legal obligations?

If menopausal symptoms have a long-term and substantial impact on a worker’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, that worker is likely to be classed as having a disability under the Equality Act 2010. The employer will therefore be under a duty not to treat them unfairly or cause them a disadvantage because of the disability or a reason connected with it. To learn more about discrimination, please read our guide – Guide to Discrimination & Harassment : Wilson Browne.

Employers also have duty to conduct a workplace risk assessment under health and safety legislation.

If employers fail to meet these obligations, they may be faced with claims for discrimination, unfair constructive dismissal. They may also face regulatory investigations and enforcement.

However, as above, it isn’t just the legal consequences which matter. Employers who don’t support workers with menopausal symptoms risk losing incredibly valuable, and sometimes irreplaceable, expertise.

What can an employer do to ensure they have taken the right steps?:

  1. Consider implementing a Menopause Policy or a Health and Wellbeing Policy which includes a designated section on the menopause. These policies can both provide a source of information about the menopause and the support that the organisation offers to those suffering the effects as well as provide general guidance for all.
  2. Train not only your managers but your entire workforce to foster an open culture in which workers feel able to talk about their symptoms and the support they might need.
  3. Check appropriate communication channels are in place so that employees may confidentially raise menopause related issues with line managers more readily.
  4. Check work environments are suitable – for example, consider changes to room temperature, ventilation, rest areas, and cooling systems.
  5. Encourage flexible working and relax uniform policies if needed.

If your organisation needs any advice on menopause in the workplace then please contact the Employment Team.

[1] Menopause in the workplace | CIPD

Tom Charteress


Tom Charteress

Trainee Solicitor

Tom is a Trainee Solicitor in the Employment team based in the Northampton office and deals with employment issues in a pragmatic and logical approach.