Friday 18 October is World Menopause Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the health issues faced by many women going through the menopause. With an increasing number of women aged 50 and above in employment, more than ever before will experience the menopause during their working lives. Symptoms can include, among others, sleeplessness, hot flushes, memory loss or poor concentration, headaches, muscle and joint pains, depression and anxiety. For many, symptoms last between four to eight years and most will experience the menopause at some point between the ages of 45 and 55, though the menopause can happen both earlier and later than this. Symptoms and the severity of symptoms will vary but all women will go through the menopause and for many it will have an adverse impact on their working lives.
Yet, the menopause remains a taboo subject both in the workplace and elsewhere leaving many women reluctant to discuss their symptoms or ask for support. It is therefore important for employers to be aware of the potential impact of the menopause in the workplace and how symptoms may adversely affect individual members of staff. By raising awareness of the menopause, encouraging open discussions and offering support and adjustments where needed, employers can help mitigate symptoms and any adverse impact they may cause at work. Providing training on the menopause as part of your equal opportunities training, implementing a menopause policy and signposting support and advice for staff are all important steps towards recognising the menopause in the workplace and fostering an inclusive working environment for all.
Please get in touch if you would like advice on drafting and implementing a menopause policy or to discuss other ways in which you as an employer can support staff affected by the menopause.