Latest Blog Posts

Navigating the Menopause in the workplace – part one

Menopause is a significant life transition that affects women typically between the ages of 45 and 55 (can be earlier); its impact extends beyond the personal realm into the workplace. For many women, managing menopausal symptoms while juggling professional responsibilities can be challenging with research from Bupa suggesting that almost a million women have left their job because of menopausal symptoms.

Organisations therefore should be keen to support and retain valuable colleagues going through menopause. In this two part series we will explore how businesses can effectively navigate the menopausal transition in the workplace. To achieve this, we will delve into four key areas:

  • Creating a menopause policy
  • Train and Educate Colleagues and Managers
  • Making Reasonable Adjustments
  • Carrying Out Risk Assessments

In the first part of the series, we will look at creating a specific menopause policy, and educating staff.

Create a Menopause Policy

We are not suggesting creating a policy for the sake of it, there is good reason to develop a specific menopause policy for the workplace. While not everyone will need the policy, the document[2] can help everyone in the organisation to understand:

  • what the menopause is and how it can affect people
  • how it affects everyone differently
  • what support is available to staff affected by it

Essentially the policy is a great tool for starting conversations and ensuring that everyone is treated equitably. In 2024, it seems that managers need to be all things to all people and be experts in almost everything people related. We disagree, by implementing a good menopause policy, it will provide managers a good framework from which to work, guiding them on how to manage the situation; essentially, they just need to be aware of menopause.  

ACAS suggests that the policy could:

  • explain what training is provided to managers
  • explain who the organisation’s point of contact is for queries related to the menopause
  • show how the organisation is open and trained to talk and listen sensitively about the effects of the menopause
  • include the employer’s commitment to support its diverse workforce and to prevent discrimination

Moreover, when creating the policy, be guided by employee voice. What do employees want to see within the document? What do employees feel is suitable support? What would be helpful to managers to know?

Aim to update your flexible working policy, sickness absence policy as well as diversity and inclusion policies ensuring that they all discuss the menopause.

Train & Educate Colleagues and Managers

To create a supportive environment, everyone needs to be involved – educate, educate, educate! While we are certain most people are aware of the menopause, their knowledge may not go beyond the superficial. How can you be supportive of someone if you are unsure of their circumstances? Employers, choose to educate your people on menopause. Does this mean you need to go all out and purchase an all singing and dancing training package? No, not necessarily; do what is appropriate for your business and people.

A good starting point would be to undertake training based on your menopause policy; this is something you can do in-house. Look at the symptoms and impacts of menopause on individuals, talk through how employees can start conversations about menopause and reaffirm the commitment the organisation has to its employees. You may be able to watch, from trusted sources, life stories of people who have gone through menopause to drive home the realities; this may also serve as a door for employees to open up about their experiences (be careful not to force conversations employees don’t want to have).

If your organisation has a more pressing need, potentially an external training provider may be the answer.

Once the initial training is complete, commit to undertaking periodic refresher courses to keep the subject in the employee’s mind – menopause is not going anywhere! And consider new starters coming into the business.

Managers will need extra guidance as they will be the ones dealing with situations, be sure to provide extra training above that of colleagues. Again, using the menopause policy, go into depth about making reasonable adjustments and risk assessments, look at ways they can support their employees, consider manager behaviours and ways of creating a good working environment.

Navigating the impact of menopause in the workplace requires a proactive approach from organisations. With nearly a million women leaving their jobs due to menopausal symptoms, it’s evident that support is crucial. Establishing a dedicated menopause policy and educating colleagues and managers is essential to ensuring that everyone is equipped to provide support sensitively and effectively. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the team today.

In the second part of this blog series, we will explore two further topics on how to navigate menopause:

  • Making Reasonable Adjustments
  • Carrying Out Risk Assessments.