The conversation around menopause in the workplace has been amplified recently, with weekly press reports stating that an increasing number of companies are taking steps to support employees who are going through the menopause.
Recent examples include a major high street retailer announcing last month that they would be paying for employees’ hormone replacement therapy (a common treatment for severe menopause symptoms), and a large media company is offering access to menopause resources and desk fans for women suffering from hot flushes.
These announcements also come amidst a discussion chaired by the Women and Equalities Committee earlier this year as to whether menopause should become a legally protected characteristic, as women are currently forced to find legal workarounds using age, sex, or disability as their protected characteristic if they want to protect their rights via litigation.
Creating an environment supportive of women going through the menopause is particularly important in the context of retaining senior women in the workplace. Recent research reported that almost a fifth of women with menopausal or peri-menopausal symptoms took more than eight weeks’ leave, and half of these women resigned or took early retirement.
A YouGov poll conducted in March 2022 has revealed that 72% of respondent companies do not currently have a menopause policy in place, and only 16% of businesses train line managers on how to address the menopause at work. Given the increasing number of queries we are responding to on this topic, we expect these statistics to change significantly this year, as employers begin to place greater emphasis on supporting those going through the menopause at work.