New guidance for employers to help manage the impact of menopause at work
Workplace expert ACAS has published new guidance to help employers and managers support staff who are affected by menopause symptoms at work.
Around two million women aged over 50 have difficulties at work due to their menopause symptoms and it is estimated that one in 20 women could go through an early menopause. The effects of the menopause can lead to staff feeling ill, losing confidence to do their job or feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.
ACAS Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"Menopause will impact many working women who may feel too embarrassed to raise symptoms that are having a detrimental impact on their work. This can result in affected staff taking time off work unnecessarily when some simple measures could help them to continue to work comfortably. Our new advice can help employers make their workplaces inclusive and welcoming to all their staff with top tips around how to manage menopause effectively at work and keep within the law."
Menopause symptoms can include:
- feeling tiring and lacking energy;
- hot flushes;
- feeling anxious and panic attacks;
- struggling to concentrate or focus; and
- headaches, including migraines.
Meg Matthews, Menopause campaigner and founder of MegsMenopause said:
“ACAS's guidance will help give employers the knowledge they need to fully understand their colleagues who are going through the menopause and struggling with symptoms. Also, it gives employees the necessary tools to feel confident in approaching their employers if they are suffering from symptoms related to the menopause, taking away the fear and worry of speaking openly about their symptoms in a safe environment.”
The new ACAS advice includes tips for workers on how to raise any concerns and good practice guidance for employers to help manage menopause at work. Top tips include:
- Create and implement a menopause policy;
- Provide awareness training for managers to deal with any concerns in a sensitive way;
- Create an open and trusted culture within the team;
- Make changes where possible, such as altering working hours;
- Implement low-cost environmental changes such as providing desk fans; and
- Awareness of employment laws that can relate to menopause issues at work, such as the risks of sex, disability or age discrimination.
According to the latest statistics from the ONS, 4.4 million women aged 50-64 are in work, and the CIPD estimate that the vast majority of these women will go through the menopause transition during their working lives and six in ten menopausal women have said that it has had a negative impact on their work. UK charity the Daisy Network has revealed that a spontaneous (natural) early menopause affects approximately 5% of the population before the age of 45.
To see the full guidance, go to: www.acas.org.uk/menopause.