Buck Bond Group
Menopause and the workplace

Menopause and the workplace

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Workplace support for women experiencing symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause remains a priority for HR professionals. There is now clear evidence as to why action must be taken. Recent research from the CIPD found that two-thirds (67%) of working women aged 40 to 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms say they’ve had a “mostly negative effect on them at work.”1 Meanwhile, the Fawcett Society reports that “one in ten women who worked during the menopause have left a job due to their symptoms.”2

While it’s important to appreciate that symptoms vary in both type and severity, the menopause will, at some point, be experienced by 50% of the working population – so employers need to take note. There is such a broad spectrum of menopause symptoms but some, such as sudden hot flushes, stress and anxiety, can affect even the most competent women’s ability to perform their usual work duties. This can be deeply unsettling, but as menopause becomes less stigmatised and talked about more, women are feeling less alone and have a better understanding of their symptoms. High profile stories such as Lisa Snowdon’s, whose book includes a frank, open account of her menopause experiences, are helping this process. Too often though, menopause is either still a taboo subject in the workplace, or not recognised as something which may necessitate reasonable allowances.

According to Gallagher’s 2023 UK Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Report, Physical & Emotional Wellbeing Strategy, 49% of organisations now have a menopause policy in place. This is more than double the number who had such a policy in 2022 (23%), and a further 7% of organisations will implement one in the next 12 months. Beyond providing targeted support for those experiencing symptoms, the report notes how better awareness about the menopause can reduce stigma and bring workforces together.

On 18 October 2023 (World Menopause Day), we reported on an expected employment tribunal ruling in the case of Ms Rooney vs Leicester City Council, about her workplace treatment regarding menopause symptoms. The preliminary ruling in February 2022 was that “At all material times, the claimant was disabled within the meaning given by s.6 of the Equality Act 2010 by virtue of a combination of symptoms of the menopause associated with symptoms of stress and anxiety.” A final ruling is still awaited.

On 22 February 2024, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued new guidance on menopause in the workplace, clarifying employers’ legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010. This followed changes from 1 January 2024 in relation to indirect discrimination, which were made as part of the retained EU law regulations. Essentially, the guidance explains that if menopause symptoms amount to a disability, an employer has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments. They must not directly or indirectly discriminate because of that disability. The EHRC also provided practical tips on how employers can make reasonable workplace adjustments and positively support women impacted by menopausal symptoms.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chair of the EHRC, reported “As Britain’s equality watchdog, we are concerned both by how many women report being forced out of a role due to their menopause-related symptoms and how many don’t feel safe enough to request the workplace adjustments.  Our new guidance sets out these legal obligations for employers and provides advice on how they can best support their staff. We hope that this guidance helps ensure every woman going through the menopause is treated fairly and can work in a supportive and safe environment.”3

We already knew than when employers recognise and take reasonable steps to accommodate menopause symptoms, we see improved wellbeing and employee retention across the workforce. Women are more likely to feel valued and maintain their wellbeing – and ultimately stay in work – avoiding the loss of dignity, purpose and financial security that can happen when a hostile environment makes it too difficult to keep working through the menopause.

In Buck, A Gallagher Company’s work with employers to develop employee benefits programmes, we are regularly asked about the provision of specialist support services for women, to support them with health considerations including fertility and the menopause.  While access to menopause-specific healthcare has improved in recent years, after recognition of serious limitations within the NHS, employers should be mindful that overall accessibility issues are relevant to women experiencing symptoms. Therefore, providing benefits such as PMI or digital GP services can be especially beneficial for women with menopausal symptoms.

There are now well-established providers in the market who are able to deliver comprehensive support to all employees, or tailored support via flexible benefit schemes. Employers who have implemented such support report on how it delivers on absence management strategy, supports diversity and inclusion policies, and ultimately improves productivity. Following this new guidance from the EHRC, we expect to see more inclusivity in the workplace when it comes to the menopause.


[1] https://www.cipd.org/uk/knowledge/reports/menopause-workplace-experiences

[2] https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/menopauseandtheworkplace

[3] https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/media-centre/news/regulator-provides-advice-employers-menopause-and-equality-act