The menopause can have a big impact on the daily lives of employees and, in turn, have a negative impact on their performance and attendance at work. Some symptoms may last for several years and can include anxiety, reduced concentration, sleep disturbance, hot flushes and heavy periods – all of which can be both physically and emotionally distressing. The psychological effects can also impact relationships in the workplace. For some, symptoms are so severe that they need to take time off or leave their job altogether, but feel unable to disclose their reasons for absence to their managers.
Organisations should treat the menopause as they would any other health issue, not only to break the stigma and taboo surrounding the menopause at work, but to create an inclusive environment where employees and managers feel able to discuss any reasonable adjustments that may be needed.
Our guide and accompanying resources offer practical advice to help people professionals develop a supportive framework for employees experiencing the menopause.
Why act now?
- Providing support for employees experiencing the menopause will benefit your organisation through increased engagement and loyalty, as well as lower sickness absence and employee turnover.
- Fostering an age- and gender-inclusive workplace will help you tap into the valuable skills and talent that people of all ages have to offer.
- Ensuring working conditions don’t exacerbate someone's symptoms and protecting employees from discrimination is part of your legal duty.
- Removing barriers to progression for women could help you close your gender pay gap.
What's HR’s role?
Review existing policies and frameworks
Look for opportunities to specifically highlight the menopause within existing policies, to help raise awareness of the challenges it can cause and the simple actions that can help women thrive in the workplace.
Help to create awareness about the menopause in your organisation and break the stigma
Talking about the menopause can break the taboo and help employees get the support that they need. You should gauge awareness and understanding among employees, and plan your communications accordingly. Provide information on how people experiencing the menopause can get the support they need. Promote awareness of the typical symptoms and the simple changes that can support women through the transition to all employees. Use gender-neutral language where possible.
Identify reasonable adjustments
Someone with menopausal symptoms should be supported in the same way as an employee with any ongoing health condition. It’s also your responsibility to ensure all employees undergo a risk assessment.
Enable line managers to support their teams
Educate managers about the menopause, who it can affect, and how they can support colleagues going through it. Give them adequate training and development to confidently manage attendance in their team – a robust yet flexible absence management framework that highlights the menopause as a potential long-term and fluctuating health condition will help managers take the right approach to suit individual circumstances. Train managers to take a proactive and positive approach to performance management that takes on board any health issues.
Download The menopause at work: a guide for line managers to access specific advice on what people managers need to know about supporting their team.
Get your senior leadership team on board
Make support for the menopause a key part of your strategy to attract, retain and develop female talent.
Download The menopause at work: a guide for people professionals to access comprehensive advice to help HR and occupational health teams develop a supportive framework for employees experiencing the menopause.
Visit the menopause resources page to access accompanying resources such as our Manifesto for menopause at work (a short leaflet outlining the CIPD's calls to the UK Government to support the development of menopause-friendly workplaces) as well as posters and leaflets to help raise awareness.
You can also access The menopause at work: a guide for line managers a short guide for people managers offering practical advice on what a manager needs to know about the menopause to effectively support their team.
Explore our related content
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Help break the stigma in your workplace with our downloadable resources
A supportive line manager can help someone going through the menopause reach their full potential at work