Whilst the menopause will affect each individual who experiences it differently, it can have a significant impact on many employees' health, wellbeing, and ability to carry out their work. To coincide with World Menopause Day 2021, we share some key things employers can do to support employees experiencing the menopause.

Promote a supportive environment and encourage open conversations

The menopause is a very personal matter which employees, understandably, may not always feel comfortable discussing with their employer, particularly if they think they may be unsympathetic.

Employers should therefore promote a supportive environment to help employees feel more able to talk openly and comfortably about matters related to the menopause, in the knowledge that their concerns will be handled respectfully and in confidence. A large number of people can experience menopause symptoms including transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, so employers should ensure they provide inclusive support for all employees.

When having conversations with employees, any personal information provided as part of the discussion should be treated as confidential and handled in accordance with data protection policies / privacy notices.

Additional help and support

It can be helpful to:

  • make employees aware of members of staff other than their line manager who they can approach such as HR colleagues, menopause / wellbeing champions, or counsellors available through employee assistance programmes.
  • create a hub of useful and informative resources for employees on your Intranet, including having a menopause policy (see more below).

If an employee makes their employer aware they are suffering from menopause symptoms and this is impacting their work, the employer should consider (in discussion with the employee) what support or changes might help.

Steps should be taken which are reasonable in the circumstances considering the employer's size, resources and the needs of the employee. Potential steps could include: temperature and ventilation control, access to suitable rest facilities, alternative uniform options where appropriate, flexible working and/or changes to work allocation, or arranging counselling support.

An employee will not necessarily be disabled if they are suffering from menopause symptoms, but such symptoms are capable of amounting to a disability, depending on the impact that they having on them. If an employee is disabled, the employer should consider whether they need to make reasonable adjustments.


Consider having a standalone menopause at work policy, which makes it clear that you take the issue seriously and will be supportive.

Workbox by Brodies has an example menopause at work policy which includes:

  • information about what the menopause is and the common symptoms
  • who employees can talk to if they are struggling with menopause symptoms
  • details of the support available to employees.

Also consider the impact of other HR policies on menopause at work, e.g. sickness absence, performance management, flexible working, health and safety, gender identity and transitioning, as well as stress at work and mental health policies.

Ensure adequate training is provided

Given the sensitive nature of menopause related concerns and the fact that it might not always be obvious who is experiencing menopause symptoms, appropriate training for line managers, HR and where appropriate menopause / wellbeing champions is key to enable them to:

  • understand the symptoms of the menopause and how it can affect employees at work
  • know how to approach sensitive conversations with employees about menopause related concerns
  • be aware of the support that is available to employees experiencing the menopause
  • understand their role when it comes to offering support.

In many cases, it's likely to be appropriate for line managers / HR to wait until an employee raises menopause concerns with them directly, rather than asking individuals if they want to discuss the menopause or suggest that they might be experiencing menopause symptoms.

Carry out workplace risk assessments

As part of your health and safety risk assessments, you should consider any aspects of the working environment that have the potential to worsen menopause symptoms and identify any specific health and safety risks for those going through the menopause.


It's important that employers take menopause related concerns seriously and manage situations involving the menopause sensitively and in a supportive manner. Employees experiencing menopausal symptoms affecting their work could potentially raise discrimination claims including on the grounds of sex, age, disability or gender reassignment. Contact us for specific advice. 

In July 2021, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry into existing discrimination legislation and workplace practices around the menopause.

For more information about any of the issues raised in this blog, please contact a member of our Employment and Immigration team, or your usual Brodies contact.

Workbox by Brodies

Workbox by Brodies, our HR and employment law site, has:

  • guidance on supporting employees experiencing the menopause  
  • helpful FAQs on issues such as how to manage absences caused by menopause symptoms
  • a template menopause at work policy.