The Future of Work: HR Hot Topics 2022 - Menopause in the workplace

With all the changes to the world of work that we have recently experienced and are continuing to experience, our webinar programme this year is focused on the future of work and in particular the hot topics that HR teams are having to handle now in order to future-proof their organisations. 

Our latest seminar focused on menopause in the workplace. The key takeaway points are set out below:

Why the menopause matters

  • Eight out of ten menopausal women are in work
  • Virtually every employer will have female employees who are going through the menopause
  • Menopause can impact the workplace in terms of:
    • Absence levels - The UK could be losing 14 million workdays a year related to the menopause
    • Performance - 44% reported that their ability to do their job has been affected by their symptoms
    • Retention - One in four women who experience menopausal symptoms consider leaving their job 900,000 women in the UK have left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms replacing a talented employee of menopausal age costs approximately £39,000
  • Employers cannot afford to ignore this section of their workforce
  • Failure to provide support not only gives rise to legal risk but also commercial risk, through an inability to maximise productivity and to attract and retain talent as well as reputational risk

What are the legal issues?

  • Employers have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their workforce
  • A failure to recognise the impact of menopause in the workplace can lead to a breach of that duty 
  • In addition, failing to support menopausal employees or acting punitively towards them can leave employers vulnerable to claims for constructive or unfair dismissal as well as discrimination claims based on age, sex or disability
  • The number of Employment Tribunal cases citing menopause are on the rise. In 2021 there were 23 cases citing menopause, a 44% increase on the previous year
  • The Women and Equalities Committee published a report in July 2022 on Menopause and the workplace with recommendations to government on further support that should be put in place including making menopause a protected characteristic: Menopause and the workplace - Women and Equalities Committee (

Top tips on supporting employees in the workplace

  • Remember that the menopause is different for every woman and a “one size fits all” approach will not be appropriate
  • Symptoms may fluctuate as hormone levels within the body fluctuate. Employees can track their symptoms through the balance app: Balance - balance app (
  • Women may experience menopause naturally but may also be forced into menopause via surgery or medication
  • Raising awareness and implement training for women can help them to understand their symptoms better and how to manage them both in and out of work 
  • Raising awareness and implementing training for managers and the wider workforce can help to make them aware of the symptoms their colleagues could be experiencing and how best to support them
  • Implementing a menopause policy can also help raise awareness and provide advice on support available
  • Carrying out a risk assessment for an employee experiencing symptoms can help to identify adjustments to the working arrangements that will support the individual. Being proactive and making adjustments will help the individual to feel supported. These could include providing uniforms in more breathable fabrics, changing lighting or temperatures, making sanitary products freely available in toilets, or agreeing to more flexible working hours and/or time off for treatment or when symptoms are particularly debilitating
  • Setting up menopause champions across the organisation can help to provide individuals with someone to talk to when they need help as well as helping to spread awareness. If appropriate, refer employees to Occupational Health for additional support

Watch the webinar



This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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