Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace

Menopause in the workplace


The menopause is a natural stage of life that is usually experienced by women between 45 and 55 years of age. However, some women can experience the menopause before 40 years of age.

Why should employers consider menopause in the workplace?

Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. However, it can affect people differently, and no two people will experience it in the same way. Some of these symptoms, which may be physical, psychological, emotional, and cognitive can be quite severe and have a significant impact on everyday activities.

Employers have a legal duty of care to their employees under health and safety law and must ensure menopausal symptoms are not made worse by workplace conditions and/or work practices. Employers must also make reasonable adjustments to help employees manage their symptoms when doing their job. See employers’ health and safety responsibilities.

Statutory equality law does not expressly provide protection for menopause, but as menopause is a female condition, any detrimental treatment of a woman related to menopause could represent direct or indirect sex discrimination. If a woman experiences serious symptoms from the menopause transition that amount to a mental or physical impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on her ability to carry out day-to-day activities, this could be classed as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended for Northern Ireland). Failure to make reasonable adjustments could lead to a discrimination claim. See prevent discrimination and value diversity.

It also makes good business sense to try to understand and accommodate the needs of staff experiencing menopausal symptoms. An employer who does this is likely to gain greater staff loyalty, lower absenteeism rates, and higher productivity. It will also help you retain valuable talent.

Recognise and address menopause as a workplace issue

There are a number of actions that you can take to support employees affected by menopause. These have been outlined below.

Review current employment policies and procedures

To determine if there are adjustments you could make to support staff experiencing menopausal symptoms. Developing a workplace wellbeing policy that recognises menopause and actively involves staff in the development process is a good starting point.

Risk assessment

Carry out a risk assessment that considers the specific needs of menopausal women. This will fulfil your legal responsibility for health and safety and also ensure an employee’s symptoms aren’t being exacerbated by their job. See health and safety risk assessment.

Raise menopause awareness

Break the stigma by raising awareness of menopause within the workplace which will encourage openness in challenging negative and stereotypical attitudes. Information and education about menopause should be included as part of the organisation’s diversity and inclusion training for the whole workforce.


Have regular and informal one-to-one meetings with staff as this can provide the opportunity for someone to raise changes in their health situation including menopause. Employers should communicate their positive attitude towards menopause so that all employees know that their employer is supportive of the issue.

Access to support and guidance

Sometimes staff may find it difficult to know where to start to find information and advice on menopause so consider providing your staff with access to trusted online resources on the topic. You could make this available through a dedicated company intranet page with signposts to trusted external expertise and guidance.

Support from senior management

Get buy-in and support from senior management in your organisation. This will help raise awareness and develop positive attitudes towards the menopause. Senior management support can also facilitate an open, inclusive, and supportive culture.

Identify appropriate adjustments

Some adjustments you could make would be considering shift patterns, offering flexible working, making sanitary products available in washrooms, or having temperature-controlled areas. Remember that each individual can be affected differently so you should always tailor any adjustments to an individual’s specific needs.


Provide line managers with effective training so they have a broad understanding of menopause and the reasons why this is an important workplace issue. Line managers need to be confident as well as competent in having sensitive conversations to support staff experiencing menopausal symptoms. Knowing risk assessments and practical adjustments can be helpful. Extending training to all staff can help raise menopause awareness across the organisation.

Performance management

There should never be assumptions about how an individual’s performance has been impacted but it should be recognised that women can experience a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms that can pose a challenge to their daily lives including at work. Performance management should be a positive process and the focus must be on the support needed to help everyone perform to the best of their ability, including taking on board any underlying health issues.

Menopause guidance for employers

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and the Labour Relations Agency have produced guidance for employers, employees, and trade union representatives to help promote equality in employment for women affected by menopause.

The guidance includes:

  • information on menopause in terms of staff health and safety
  • equality considerations for employers
  • checklist to help employers examine if current policies and procedures meet the needs of women with menopausal symptoms
  • best practice examples from local organisations implementing menopause policies
  • tribunal decisions related to menopause
  • links to further advice and guidance

Download Promoting Equality in Employment for Women Affected by Menopause (PDF, 1.46MB).

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) also has guidance on the menopause at work: guide for people professionals and menopause at work: guide for people managers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published menopause in the workplace: guidance for employers.