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What is in the new employers' guide for menopause in the workplace?

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Many employees who experience the menopause report that it negatively impacts their work. Research carried out by the CIPD found that affected employees feel less able to concentrate, more stressed, and less able to physically carry out work tasks. Over half of the employees surveyed reported instances of being unable to go into work because of menopause symptoms. In February 2024, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published guidance for employers on how they can support employees experiencing the menopause. The guidance explains employers’ legal obligations and suggests adjustments employers can make to support employees.

Legal obligations

The menopause is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, but employees who are going through or have gone through the menopause may be protected from detrimental treatment on grounds of disability, sex, and age.

The EHRC guidance warns employers that menopause symptoms may amount to a disability if they have a long-term and substantial impact on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Where this is the case, employers will have a duty to make reasonable adjustments, and could face a tribunal claim if they fail to do so.

Even where menopause symptoms do not amount to a disability, employees who experience detrimental treatment for reasons related to the menopause may be able to make a discrimination claim on the basis of age or sex. Derogatory or demeaning comments related to the menopause may also constitute sex-based harassment. The Employment Tribunal case of Anderson v Thistle Marine exemplifies this. In this case, Mrs Anderson was experiencing menopausal symptoms and had to take time off work as a result. A director told her that everyone gets menopause and to just get on with it. She resigned and brought a tribunal claim. The tribunal found that the director’s comments amounted to harassment and she was awarded compensation.

Reasonable adjustments may also be part of the employer’s duty to look after the health, safety and welfare of employees and provide a safe working environment. For example, when doing a health and safety risk assessment, employers should consider how things like room temperature and ventilation may affect women experiencing the menopause. Adjustments may include the provision of fans or adjusting the work uniform policy.

Adjustments and support

The guidance makes several suggestions on how employers can support employees. First, employers must recognise that every person is different and no one will experience the menopause in exactly the same way. Symptoms can include hot flushes, trouble sleeping, brain fog, bleeding, irritability, and anxiety. Where possible, employers should offer flexibility in working arrangements, such as allowing employees to work from home or at different hours. Allowing employees to start work later may help with the effects of poor sleep, for example. 

If an employee has to take time off work because of menopausal symptoms, you may need to adjust your sickness absence policy so that these absences do not count towards any trigger points for disciplinary action.


Creating a culture of open communication and support may empower women to talk about their symptoms and ask for the support they need. Employers may want to consider manager training, so that supervisors feel comfortable broaching the subject with employees and understand how to do so with sensitivity.

Remind your employees of any support that is available such as an Employee Assistance Programme, flexible working, and staff support networks.

Having a menopause policy can also be a useful tool for signposting employees to the support available to them, and for providing guidance to line managers on how to manage the menopause in the workplace.

If you would like help drafting a menopause policy or have questions about your obligations to employees who are experiencing the menopause, reach out to our Employment Team by emailing employment@warnegoodman.co.uk or calling 023 8071 7717.