Menopause and the workplace

Published 11th May 2022

The menopause is a natural process and will affect every woman at some time in her life. It usually occurs between 45 to 55 years and can continue until the mid 60s. Premature menopause can affect women at a much younger age either naturally or due to medical conditions or their treatment. 

Women can experience a wide range of symptoms as the body’s oestrogen levels reduce:

  • Hot flushes 
  • Night sweats that can be severe
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Very heavy periods
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of concentration and “brain fog”

These symptoms can all result in embarrassing situations in the workplace leading to loss of self esteem and confidence. 

Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. It is important that employers have a good understanding of how women may be affected by the menopause and what support they can provide to ensure these women feel their condition is taken seriously and to enable them to work to their full potential.

Regular discussions with the workforce on the health changes of each sector of employees is an important consideration and how these impact on the ability to function. 

Training for HR Managers and line managers on the menopause will enable discussions with employees and the following adjustments to be considered: 

  • Review of workplace temperature and ventilation 
  • Flexible working if sleep is impaired
  • Easy access to washroom facilities 
  • Cold drinking water
  • Personal fans
  • Different uniforms if these cause problems for hot flushes and sweating episodes
  • Access to talking therapy and mental health support
  • Advice to consult GP for medical support. 

A referral to occupational health can provide further support and guidance with appropriate signposting. This will ensure that female employees are given the support needed. 

The menopause is not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. However, if an employee is at a disadvantage and treated less favourably due to the menopause this could be considered as discrimination. Individuals who have had gender reassignment are protected by the Equality Act and this will need to be taken into consideration.

Workplace Wellness is the trading name of
Bradford on Avon Occupational Health Services Ltd.
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Registered Office: 29 Bridge Street Bradford on Avon Wiltshire BA15 1BY