Supporting menopause in the workplace

The EHRC has published new guidance for employers on supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

The guidance follows research which found that 67% of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 said that menopausal symptoms have had a mostly negative impact on them at work.1 Further research found that one in ten women surveyed left work due to menopause symptoms2, an indicator of the progress that is still needed to create truly inclusive workplaces.

The EHRC’s guidance reminds employers of the existing legal framework surrounding menopause. Most commonly, discrimination claims relating to menopause are founded on the protected characteristic of disability and an associated failure by the employer to make reasonable adjustments. The EHRC provides various suggestions of ways employers can adjust the working environment to manage this risk, including:

  • Changes to room temperature and ventilation;
  • Providing rest areas;
  • Relaxing uniform policies; and
  • Making variations to working arrangements, including varying shift patterns or allowing staff to work from home.

Whilst there has been significant progress in removing the stigma relating to menopause at work over recent years, it is important to keep the momentum going. Encouraging an open dialogue on the menopause is one of the EHRC’s key suggestions. 

By empowering menopausal workers to discuss their symptoms and ask for adjustments, the EHRC recognises that this will help to instil a culture change where workers feel safe speaking up about any issues they, or someone they are supporting, are experiencing. They suggest this could be achieved through implementing lunch and learn sessions, training, or staff networks.

For more information on the legal risks and how to promote a more supportive, inclusive culture around menopause, please see our new client guide or get in touch. 

1CIPD, Menopause in the workplace, October 2023
2The Fawcett Society, Menopause and the Workplace (April 2022)