Managing effects of the Menopause at Work

The Menopause has always been a strangely taboo subject in society and nonetheless in the workplace. However, with this emotive issue now becoming more prevalent in the workplace and with more importance being placed on this issue its both vitally important for both employers and their staff to make themselves aware of what it can mean and how best to deal with such a situation.

For those people experiencing symptoms of the menopause it can be a difficult and stressful time. Everyone will experience the menopause differently and for some, symptoms can be quite severe and can affect people both physically and mentally. The menopause is a natural stage of life which affects most women and other people who have a menstrual cycle. It is important to also note that this can include:

  • Trans people – trans is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth
  • People with variations of sex development (VSD) – some people might prefer to identify as intersex or use the term differences in sex development (DSD) Therefore employers need to be aware of all of the people who might go through the menopause and menopause symptoms and to support them all equally.

The menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age but it can also happen earlier or later in someone’s life. For many people symptoms last about 4 years, but in some cases symptoms can last a lot longer.

There are three different stages to the menopause:

  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • Post-menopause

Some people might also experience early menopause or go through medical menopause earlier in their lives. These types of menopauses can be medically complicated, so employers should consider this when supporting their staff.

All stages and types of the menopause are different, and symptoms can vary from person to person, and range from very mild to severe.

Why it is important for Employers

The menopause is a health and wellbeing concern for staff and needs to be handled sensitively.

It is important for employers to be aware that the menopause and its symptoms can affect staff at any time. Being aware of this can help staff continue to do their job confidently and effectively.

The menopause can also have an impact on those supporting someone going through the menopause, for example a relative, partner, colleague, or carer.

Although the menopause will only be experienced by women and other people who have a menstrual cycle, men should also be included in conversations and training. This is because they might be supporting others going through it.

Supporting and creating a positive and open environment between an employer and someone affected by the menopause can help prevent the person from:

  • Losing confidence in their skills and abilities
  • Feeling like they need to take time off work and hide the reasons for it
  • Having increased mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Leaving their job

If someone is discriminated against If an employee or worker is put at a disadvantage or treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms, this could be discriminatory if connected to a protected characteristic.

Therefore it is worth considering creating either a stand-alone Menopause Policy for your business or organisation which clearly and sensitively explains how you, the Employer, will support and deal with such instances. If you would like further support on creating a Menopause Policy or if you need some expert guidance on how best to manage a similar situation you are trying to deal with, please get in touch!

Call Tara: 07983 936747


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