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Menopause at work

The menopause has traditionally been seen as a private matter or ‘a women’s issue’ and is certainly not a topic which is often discussed openly or which has been taken into account in the design of workplaces and working practices.

Why is menopause a workplace issue (interactive guide)

Did you know that 9 out of 10 workers felt that the menopause affected their working life?

There is still much to be done to tackle the taboo around menopause, particularly in workplaces, where often women do not feel able to talk about the menopause at all.

The TUC has produced this interactive guide about menopause, the symptoms, why it's a workplace issue, real life stories, what employers can do and how you can influence you employer to make changes in the workplace. Click on the image below to access the interactive guide.

interactive guide

The effects of menopause and chronic fatigue syndrome at work
I had support from my union rep and a phased return after my initial period of illness. For a number of months I was able to work in another role out of the classroom on a temporary basis. This was arranged at a case conference with my union rep, head teacher and occupational health.

In recent surveys, women have reported that employers were often not tackling problems in ways that helped workers. Managers rarely received training in matters relating to the menopause, leaving many unaware of the issues involved. More worryingly, there were some matters which were being ignored or dismissed completely. This left women being disciplined on competency grounds for an issue that merely required simple adjustments to working conditions.

Talking about menopause

Beki Trimble, Rebecca Batt and Kate Lindsell from Bristol City Council talk about their personal experiences of menopause, how it impacted their work, and the project they have launched at Bristol City Council to improve support for women going through the menopause.

The role of the union rep

It is important that trade unions raise the issue in the workplace and make sure that employers are aware of their responsibilities to ensure that conditions in the workplace do not make the symptoms worse. Women who are experiencing the menopause also need to know that there is someone they can go to discuss any difficulties they are having.

Why the menopause is a trade union issue
Employers have a duty to prevent workplace discrimination and to make adjustments to ensure women can work safely through the menopause. But there are benefits for employers in taking a more proactive approach towards the menopause too.

Wales TUC has produced this toolkit is to provide information to help union officers and reps to represent members affected by the menopause. It aims to help reps in recognising and addressing the workplace issues that can worsen women’s symptoms. It provides tools and ideas to help union reps to campaign on the health and safety and equality issues surrounding the menopause.

Download the toolkit (pdf) 

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