Support your colleagues through the menopause with new guidance from the CIPD

Chances are you employ, manage, or work with at least one woman. How confident do you think you would be about speaking to that woman about the menopause, or how confident would they be about coming to you?

That’s why the CIPD has created this guidance on the menopause at work. One for people professionals on how to develop an effective framework for the menopause and a second guide aimed specifically at people managers to support them in supporting women.

The menopause can have a real impact on a woman’s work and personal life, so why is the topic so taboo? The menopause needn’t be an awkward or embarrassing subject, and it shouldn’t mean a woman needs to press pause on her working life. This is why we need your help to spread the ‘m’ word and get people talking!

Who it affects

Women over 50 are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, and most will go through the menopause during their working lives. But due to lack of support from their employers many of these women won’t be able to meet their full potential at work

The menopause can last up to 12 years; with some women experiencing symptoms in theirtwenties

How it affects them

  • Menopause symptoms include: memory loss; headaches; depression; anxiety; difficulty sleeping and many more

  • 50% of women are likely to find it difficult to cope with work during the menopause

  • 1/5 women say the menopause had a negative impact on perception of their competence at work

  • The menopause isn’t all about hot flushes and heavy periods, it can have a serious impact on a woman’s life

What can help them

Help break the silence, even just talking about the menopause can make a world of difference to a woman’s ability to contribute her full potential at work. Ask them how they are on a regular basis and allowing them to talk about their experience

Employers have a legal duty to carry out a risk assessment to identify anything that can make a person’s menopause symptoms worse and make adjustments to work environments or working patterns to help someone manage

The key to supporting an employee going through the menopause is to keep an open mind and be as flexible as you can. Remember, you’re not a doctor so don’t offer medical advice but do suggest a visit to the GP

People managers - the menopause isn’t a topic to be shied away from. If you’re embarrassed, then it’ll be harder for your colleagues to confide in you