18th October was World Menopause Day; a day which is observed around the world to raise awareness of the impact of the menopause.
The menopause occurs in all women, and commonly begins between the ages of 45 and 55, although some start experiencing symptoms much earlier. During the menopause, there are changes in the levels of hormones, which are thought to be the cause of the menopausal symptoms in many women. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on women.
Symptoms can manifest both physically and psychologically, including hot flushes, sweats, fatigue, poor concentration, mood disturbances, anxiety, depression and headaches.
Menopausal symptoms can last between four to eight years, although some women experience them for much longer and can need medication to alleviate the symptoms. Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms and they may not occur continuously.
In their recent report entitled “Menopause transition: effects on women’s economic participation”, the Government Equalities Office noted that due to the increased number of older women in employment, it is increasing likely that employers will experience the effects of menopause in the workplace. As such, businesses should ensure they are fully aware of the impact of the menopause and assess what they can do to assist employees who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, as well as educating their colleagues and line managers.
Areas in which employers could take action to lessen the impact of the menopause include temperature controls, access to drinking water, adapting work uniforms, easy access to toilet facilities, provision of additional storage facilities and sanitary products, as well as flexible working and offering alternative places to work.
In light of World Menopause Day, we are advising employers to adopt a Menopause Policy for their business, in which they set out their approach to dealing with menopause in the workplace. This will enable colleagues and line managers being able to have an open and honest conversation about the menopause, to promote a greater understanding of the menopause, to eradicate the taboo surrounding the menopause, as well as reducing the impact of absenteeism due to menopausal symptoms.
For further information about introducing a Menopause Policy for your business, or in relation to any matter concerning the menopause in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact Sally Morris, Head of the Employment Law Team at mfg Solicitors LLP on 01905 610410 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.