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Menopause: How To Support Women In The Workplace

In this article we explore how menopause affects women in the workplace and what you can do to help shake the stigma.

What Is The Menopause?

The menopause is a natural part of the female life cycle. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline, and she stops having periods.

In the UK, the average age a woman reaches menopause is 51, but around one in 100 women experience the menopause before the age of 40.

The length of the menopause also varies. Symptoms typically last around four years, but around one in 10 women experience them for up to as much as 12 years.

What Are The Symptoms?

80% of menopausal women experience symptoms. Hot flushes are the hot topic, but it doesn’t stop there. The most common symptoms include:

  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Joint stiffness and pain

What Employers Can Do

While it’s fantastic to see that people are championing change, we don’t need to wait for workplace policies to start showing our support to women in the workplace. Here are four ways you can help employees who are going through the menopause right now:

Offer Flexible Working

Flexitime, including late starts and early finishes, can be helpful for scheduling medical appointments or dealing with disturbed sleep. Allowing employees to work from home can also help support more uncomfortable or ‘embarrassing’ problems.

Set Up ‘Safe Spaces’

In 2017, Nottinghamshire police introduced a menopause policy at work. It included providing access to private rooms where women could ‘rest temporarily, cry or talk with a colleague before they return to their workspace’.

Even just the knowledge there is somewhere private at work can help women to feel safe and supported if they’re overwhelmed with their symptoms.

Keep It Cool

Simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to managing hot flushes. You could introduce cool or warm areas of your workplace. Allow desk fans. Provide access to cold drinking water. And allow people to adjust their uniforms if it will make them feel more comfortable.

Shake The Stigma

Openly supporting awareness campaigns like World Menopause Day is great way to show your staff you understand how important the issue is. And make sure they know you’re always there if they need to talk about anything they’re going through.

If you need help and advice regarding workplace banter, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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