Acas has published new guidance to help employers support the estimated two million women who have difficulties at work due to menopause symptoms.
The guidance, published on World Menopause Day, offers employers examples of good practice in helping staff manage the menopause at work. Advice includes implementing a menopause policy; providing awareness training for managers to help them deal with concerns in a sensitive way; offering altered working hours and introducing low-cost environmental changes such as providing desk fans.
Managing the menopause
According to the CIPD, six in 10 menopausal women say it has had a negative impact on their work and one in four consider leaving work altogether.
Acas’ guide also aims to raise awareness of the menopause-related issues that might lead to employers falling foul of employment laws, including the risks that might lead to claims of sex, disability and age discrimination.
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 campaigner Meg Matthews, who founded the MegsMenopause advice site, said: “Acas’ 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.”
Meanwhile, mobile network operator O2 has introduced a toolkit for its employees and managers to support those experiencing the menopause.
The toolkit, created by O2’s Women’s Network, helps employees and managers recognise menopause symptoms and offers tactful ways of starting a conversation on the topic. It also encourages managers to offer flexible working patterns that meet the needs of women.
Ann Pickering, chief HR officer and chief of staff at O2, said: “Menopause is often a taboo in the workplace, but it shouldn’t be. It affects 50% of the population and an increasing part of our ageing workforce.
“Everyone experiences menopause differently but offering flexible working patterns is one way of ensuring women feel able to cope at work, so it’s fantastic the Women’s Network has developed this toolkit. They’ll really help equip managers to have these conversations and build working patterns that work for women.”