Supporting Employees with Menopause

11 August 2022

As more people are working well into their senior years, employers are facing another area of medical issues.

Menopause is a health condition found in the older generation. At its worst, menopause can affect people in both their personal and professional lives.

As an employer, you have a moral duty to support employees with medical conditions like menopause.

Failing this, they could decide to seek employment elsewhere or even raise claims of discrimination against you.

In this guide, we’ll look at what menopause is, its different symptoms for it, and how to support menopausal employees during work.

What is menopause?

Menopause is when people don’t have menstrual cycles for twelve consecutive months. When their periods start to come to an end, menopausal symptoms can be felt (from four to six years prior).  

There are three stages of menopause:

  1. Perimenopause (The transition period before menopause).
  2. Menopause.
  3. Postmenopause (The transition period after menopause).

Employees with menopause can go through both physical and mental difficulties, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Different stages can occur at different times if one’s life. And it can affect women and anyone who experiences menstrual cycles. Like non-binary, trans, and people with VSD (variations of sex development).

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include:

  • Hot flushes.
  • Night sweats.
  • Memory problems.
  • Concentration issues.
  • Physical pains, like stiff joints.

It’s important to remember, that every person will have a different menopausal experience. So, it’s best to cater on individual levels and outline overall support for employees going through this state.

Why is it important to support employees with menopause in the workplace?

As an employer, you have a moral duty to support anyone going through menopause during work.

You must take appropriate steps to protect their health, safety, and wellbeing during this delicate time. This includes providing your staff with medical support and referrals to health centres. Or it can include making reasonable accommodations to workplace practices.

Throughout this sensitive time, employees should feel comfortable sharing their concerns, as well as continue to work within a supportive environment.

If not, they may lose confidence in their work capabilities. Any stress or depression-like symptoms can worsen their condition–and in the end, they could walk away from the business.

Are there laws in Ireland?

Menopause isn’t specifically outlined under employment law in Ireland. However, you cannot disadvantage employees going through it. Meaning, that you cannot ignore them when it comes to equal work opportunities, like promotions or training.

Under the Employment Equality Act (2015), employees have a legal right to be treated fairly–without facing discrimination during work. You cannot discriminate against these protected characteristics:

Here, you could be liable for discrimination if their symptoms are connected to a protected characteristic, like disability or age. And these trials can result in paying compensation fees or facing business damages.

How to support menopausal employees in the workplace

When it comes to managing menopause in the workplace, it involves more than the employee affected.

It’s so important for you, your managers, and your entire workforce to know how to provide support. Here are steps on how to support someone going through menopause:

Set out policies and procedures

It’s crucial to have a menopause workplace policy in place. It considers all types of risks that menopausal employees might face during work.

The menopause workplace guidelines should include rules on work practices, conditions, and welfare facilities. It can also include rules on sick leave relating to menopause, and reasonable accommodation needed for specific employees.

Offer educational training

All management staff should be educated on what menopause is, what the symptoms are, and how it can impact everyday work life.

Provide managers with training on how to adjust working practices to support all employees. You need to ensure your staff that despite their medical state, they’re still an integral part of your workforce.

Provide support

There are so many methods for providing menopausal employees with valuable support. From medical referrals, therapy sessions, and menopause support groups in Ireland.

Speak with them and understand what type of support they seek. Line managers have first contact with employees and can recognise any trouble or grief at first-hand. So, ensure they provide support as soon as they spot any signs.

Eliminate stigma

It’s so important to eliminate any attitudes or stigmas around employees with menopause. You must treat it as a medical issue, and present occupational awareness around it.

Any discriminatory behaviours must be dealt with as soon as possible. If you fail to tackle this, employees will fear speaking up about their condition and may suffer in silence. Or they could raise their grievance to employment tribunals where you could face fines and penalties.

Get expert advice on supporting menopause with Peninsula

All employers have a legal and moral duty to build a healthy and safe workspace for their staff members. This enables them to feel supported and work comfortably–which are key elements for anyone suffering from menopause.

Without protecting their welfare this way, you could face costly damages to your business’s production, revenue, and reputation.

Peninsula offers expert guidance on supporting employees. Our clients get access to 24-hour HR advice where specialists can help you protect your staff and business simultaneously.

Get in touch today; or use our callback form to arrange a more convenient time. Call us on 0800 028 2420

Suggested Resources