News Article


Menopause in the Workplace

*Please note that while we use the term ‘woman’ and ‘women’, we also recognise that transgender, non-binary and intersex employees may experience menopause and require support and flexibility appropriate to their needs.

Menopause is a natural part of the ageing process and is experienced by most women*, usually between the ages of 45-55. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological; they can vary significantly from person to person.

Add work into the mix and things can become even tougher…

Navigating menopause symptoms at work can be tricky, as they can impact a woman’s comfort and performance. Plus, some women still feel embarrassed when talking about it.

Showing support and making even the smallest adaptations to someone’s working pattern or environment can make a world of difference. Despite this, some employers are still not getting it right.

A recent Employment Tribunal case (Mrs M Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance) found that menopause symptoms can be considered a disability, and it may be possible to discriminate against an employee with menopause symptoms by refusing to make reasonable adjustments.

This can have serious legal consequences.

Now is the time to take menopause at work seriously…

Step 1 – Create a Menopause Policy
Having a menopause policy in place with clearly defined internal guidelines – and actively promoting it – is an excellent starting point.

Step 2 – Understand Menopause Symptoms
Studies have shown that up to a third of women will experience severe menopausal symptoms that can impact their overall quality of life – and this can be debilitating.

Step 3 – Be Aware of the Law
Menopause isn’t explicitly a protected characteristic under the law. However, recent ET claims, along with guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in February 2024, clarify that menopause symptoms could qualify as a disability if they have a long-term and substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry out her normal day-to-day activities.

Step 4 – Do all you can to prevent discrimination
As a business leader, you’re likely fully aware of the proactive steps you can take to prevent discrimination, but your senior leaders, line managers and colleagues must also be in the loop.

Step 5 – Manage performance proactively
Sometimes menopausal symptoms can heavily impact a woman’s ability to concentrate or perform in their role to the best of their ability.

Step 6 – Make Reasonable Adjustments
As an employer, you have a legal duty to assess and address workplace risks to ensure the health and safety of your employees.

Step 7 – Create an open and inclusive culture
Menopause is a natural process and shouldn’t be a taboo subject. Yet, remarkably in 2024, there’s still a lack of understanding and support at work for employees.

Step 8 – Educate and Inform
Alongside a menopause policy, it is crucial to ensure that your HR teams and line managers undergo professional training.

Step 9 – Build an internal support network
For some employees, opening up about the menopause at work can feel embarrassing.

Step 10 – Think Commercially
According to Henpicked, having menopause support at work is not only beneficial for your employees – it’s great for your bottom line too.

Women over 50 are the fastest-growing workplace demographic so, you should be doing all you can to attract, recruit and retain the best talent.

Need help? Get in touch