Supporting employees through menopause: your top five FAQs

Every year on 18 October, World Menopause Day spotlights a topic that too often goes unrecognised by employers. Menopause is a natural phase of life that affects 51% of the population and an estimated 5.87 million women in the current UK workforce. It’s time to break the silence and provide effective support for women navigating this transition, particularly in the workplace.  

By creating a menopause-friendly culture, you're not only promoting gender equality but also enhancing productivity, employee well-being, and staff retention. Research from healthcare provider Bupa shows almost a million women have left their jobs because of menopause-related symptoms. 

Menopause-friendly workplaces begin with knowledge, empathy, and open dialogue. To keep the conversation going in your business, our FAQs answer five of the most common questions around menopause. 

What is menopause? 

Menopause is when a woman’s period stops due to lower hormone levels. Menopause is a natural event that happens in most women’s lives and can last for approximately between four and eight years. It usually affects women between the ages of 45 and 55 but it can happen earlier. 

What are some of the symptoms of menopause? 

There are many symptoms of menopause that can affect an employee's comfort and performance at work. Symptoms can include:

  • Hot flushes 
  • Anxiety 
  • Fatigue 
  • Memory loss 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections 
  • Joint stiffness, aches, and pains 
  • Reduced concentration 
  • Heavy periods

Everyone will experience symptoms differently and some people may experience quite severe symptoms which can affect them both physically and mentally. 

How can you support an employee going through menopause? 

It’s important as an employer to support a team member experiencing menopausal symptoms. Businesses can put reasonable adjustments in place to make an employee more comfortable at work. Reasonable adjustments can include flexible working, temperature control, different work allocations, and risk assessments. 

What are an employer’s responsibilities in regard to menopause? 

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment, which includes adjustments to those experiencing menopausal symptoms. In addition, the Equality Act (2010) outlines that individuals must not be discriminated against. This includes discrimination against someone suffering from menopausal symptoms. 

Is there anything else that can be done to protect employees in the workplace?

Employers should ensure that suitable support is available to employees and that they have someone to talk to if they are experiencing menopausal symptoms. It is recommended that companies have a menopause policy and train managers on talking about menopause. To normalise the subject, businesses should encourage managers to discuss menopause symptoms and support alongside other equality and diversity topics. 

For consultancy and policy guidance to support your staff through menopause and beyond, talk to a member of the Opus Safety team.

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