Skip to content

Employers urged to act on menopause

Date posted
23 February 2024
Marcus Boocock
Estimated reading time
2 minute read

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is urging businesses to ensure they create supportive environments where employers are comfortable discussing menopause.

It comes after the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission issued guidance to bosses to clarify their legal obligations to support people going through menopause.

The commission has warned employers that failure to adhere to these obligations, including making “reasonable adjustments” could lead to legal action.

IOSH has previously issued its own guidance on this subject to support employers.

The tips include:

  • Considering whether existing policies and procedures cater for the psychosocial needs of menopause-related issues, for example whether they can introduce flexible working patterns
  • Ensuring risk assessments consider specific risks to menopausal employees and identify reasonable adjustments for individuals
  • Developing awareness, training and education strategies that raise understanding of the menopause and associated symptoms, their impact on work and potential solutions
  • Following the advice of health and safety professionals based on the outcomes of age – and gender – sensitive health risk assessments, including potential changes in functional capacities
  • Developing more inclusive and supportive workplace cultures and managerial styles that make employees feel comfortable disclosing symptoms or requesting adjustments to support them with symptoms.

Dr Karen Michell, an occupational health specialist at IOSH, said: “Menopause can and often does have physical, mental and emotional effects on employees and their ability to cope with work. Yet very few workplaces and managers are knowledgeable on how to address work-related menopause issues and the preventive role that occupational health and safety can play.

“This is concerning. As with other health issues, employees should feel comfortable being able to discuss their symptoms with line managers and other colleagues and be able to request additional support which helps them in their roles.

“It is important that we prepare both workers and employers for what menopause might mean for them. Waiting until there is a pre-menopausal crisis is like acting once the horse has bolted the stable. Initiatives are needed to ensure we all understand the process of menopause and that employers create those supportive environments from the get go.

“We encourage employers to approach menopause in the workplace with a more holistic view that puts the spotlight on providing effective management practices, practical support and the adoption of a workplace culture of an open nature for those experiencing symptoms rather than solely focusing on superficial initiatives, such as the development of a specific policy on menopause.”

Last updated: 29 February 2024

Marcus Boocock

Job role
PR Lead

Get in touch

  • Cancer wonder drug welcomed
  • Tips for talking about mental health with workers
  • Retirement plan poses risk – says poll