Mental health in the workplace wears many faces, but one area that has been and continues to be overlooked by many (both employers and employees alike), is menopause.

General awareness of what menopause entails is limited with many people associating it principally with hot flushes, however there are numerous other symptoms (more than 30 physical and mental conditions that may be caused by menopause transition) including difficulty with sleeping, problems with memory or concentration, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

A recent study by the Fawcett Society, believed to be the largest survey of menopausal women in the UK, paints a damning picture of work in UK for menopausal women, with eight in 10 women reporting that their employer has not shared information, provided any training or put in place a menopause policy and one in 10 women reporting they had left a job due to their symptoms. Mapped on to the UK population, this survey represents an estimated 333,000 women leaving their jobs due to menopause. With over a third of the working age population now being over 50, tackling the stigma associated with the menopause, helping people understand its impacts and implementing practical and supportive solutions is more important than ever.

Whilst there are lobby groups pushing for changes in the law to require employers to support women with menopause, the survey also sets out further recommendations which can be actioned much quicker and at minimal cost, including:

  1. introducing and implementing a menopause policy;
  2. providing training to all employees about menopause, especially managers and other senior staff;
  3. adapting absence policies;
  4. permitting flexible working;
  5. offering environmental changes (e.g. to toilets, heating/cooling, and hot desk policies);
  6. offering support networks for menopausal women;
  7. considering dress codes which support menopausal women; and
  8. creating an environment conducive to sharing information and learning about menopause.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact Elliot Francis, or any other member of the Employment team at Edwin Coe.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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