The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. Studies have shown menopause symptoms can have a significant impact on attendance and performance in the workplace.
- There are 3.5 million women over 50 in the workplace.
- In the UK, the average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51.
- Around one in a 100 women experience menopause before age 40.
- Three out of four women experience symptoms, one in four could experience serious symptoms.
Let's talk menopause
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Let's talk menopause’ resource provides managers with tools on how to effectively support women going through the menopause at work. The resources includes:
In July 2017, Professor Jo Brewis et al, co-authored the evidence-based research report, The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK which recommends changing organisational cultures; compulsory equality and diversity training; providing specialist advice; tailored absence policies and flexible working patterns for mid-life women.
Improving the workplace environment
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine's (FOM) Guidance on menopause and the workplace and infographic highlights that nearly eight out of ten menopausal women are in work. FOM also found that the majority of women are unwilling to disclose menopause related health problems to their managers.
The FOM guidance on menopause offers practical guidance on how to improve workplace environments.
- Review control of workplace temperature and ventilation and see how they might be adapted to meet the needs of individuals.
- Have a desktop fan in an office or locating a workstation near an opening window or away from a heat source.
- Consider flexible working hours or shift changes. If sleep is disturbed, later start times might be helpful.
- Provide access to cold drinking water in all work situations, including off site venues.
What are NHS trusts doing?
After recognising that staff sickness absences were often related to menopause symptoms Sherwood Forest Hospital Foundation Trust committed to developing and implementing a menopause strategy so that all staff going through the menopause were supported. Since launching the strategy, referrals into occupational health now include menopause and stress/anxiety, and the age of a female staff member is considered at triage to give staff the correct support. Read about the challenges and the outcomes in the full case study.
Watch their video below for an overview on the project.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have an informative menopause factsheet to support employees.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust created an information leaflet for staff which directly links into their overall B Well Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Improving Working Lives policies for staff. The trust have also created videos in partnership with Business in the Community to further support their staff and managers with the menopause in the workplace. Take a look at their:
If you need any more information on the work Belfast Health and Social Care Trust are doing you can contact Samantha.Whann@belfasttrust.hscni.net
If your organisation has any helpful resources on menopause and the workplace and would like to share them with others please email email@example.com.