The subject of menopause in recent months has been heavily campaigned, by the likes of Davina McCall, and Penny Lancaster, these campaigners are trying to break the taboo subject of the menopause, as a result employers are now starting to create a friendly workplace to help break the silence surrounding this illness.

Evidence from a research study carried out by Equalities Office does highlight the negative impact the menopause symptoms can have daily on women’s quality of working life and capabilities including reduced engagement with work, reduced job satisfaction, reduced commitment to the organisation, higher sickness absence, and an increased desire to leave work altogether. The evidence suggests that symptoms might also have negative effects on time management, emotional resilience, and the ability to complete tasks effectively.

I wanted to share some useful information for those employers that need to know the steps to make the necessary changes.

Do I need a Menopause Policy?

All companies deal with things in a very different manner, recently we have had an increase in requests for a menopause policy, this water tights your support and helps break the silence of this subject, making staff feel heard, without a policy or things are not followed correctly you could end up facing a problem.

How can I support my Staff through the Menopause and create a menopausal friendly work place?

Any major health issue requires supporting, including menopausal women

  • Supportive Managers

Your managers are the go to people your staff need the support from, managers should be prepared to listen and make the changes necessary so that those members of staff feel supported at work, this can help increase retention, happiness and wellbeing and create a more diverse workforce.

As a business you should:

1/ Train your managers

2/ Adapt the absence policies you have in place

3/ Offer flexible working

4/ Share information about menopause with staff

5/ Work place environments, for example, access to good ventilation, clean and well equipped toilet facilities, quiet rest areas, cold drinks should be available, and the ability to control the temperature they are working in

Mis – Managing employees with menopausal symptoms and what the legal implications are

Should an employee be treated less favorably due to their menopause symptoms, they may have discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 related to age, sex and / or disability, as well as a claim of unfair and constructive unfair dismissal.

Health and safety related legislation may also be relevant, as a general duty of care to employees is needed to protect their welfare.

A case brought by a woman who had been unfairly treated at work due to the issues connected with the menopause, was dismissed due to poor performance who already indicated that her menopause symptoms were impacting her capability Over the years, there have been several successful cases brought by women who have been unfairly treated at work due to issues connected with the menopause. In Merchant v BT plc (2012), a dismissal of a poorly performing female employee who had indicated that menopause symptoms were adversely impacting her capability amounted to direct sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. The employer had failed to take the menopause seriously as an underlying health condition and failed to follow the normally expected procedure.

In conclusion

Supporting the menopause within the work place really promotes an understanding and supportive culture, and this is a huge step forward in this subject not being so taboo, therefore your business can avoid potential discrimination claims and Employment Tribunals.