Equipsme HR Guide – The menopause

Equipsme HR Guide The menopause

The menopause is something that’s happened, happening or going to happen to around half of the population – and to a really important part of your team.

Women over 50 are the fastest growing section of the UK workforce. They are often in senior positions, with years of valuable experience behind them.

Supporting them through the menopause can help businesses retain key talent, protect productivity and continuity, boost staff engagement, and support Equality and Diversity goals.

The menopause in numbers

  • 5-10 – the number of years before the end of their periods that women can experience symptoms, known as the perimenopause (1)
  • 33 – the number of menopausal symptoms women can get, ranging from night sweats to concentration issues, joint pain, insomnia, vaginal dryness, headaches, itchy skin, irritability, heart palpitations, urinary and digestive problems (2)
  • 7% of women had to visit their GP more than 10 times before receiving adequate help or advice (3)
  • 44% had to wait for more than a year before receiving support and advice for their menopausal symptoms (4)
  • 12% waited more than five years before getting support (5)
  • 77% of menopausal women experienced one or more symptoms that they found ‘very difficult’ to deal with (6)
  • 84% of women experienced trouble sleeping (7)
  • 73% experienced brain fog, impacting their ability to concentrate and make decisions (8)
  • 69% experience anxiety or depression due to menopausal symptoms (9)
  • 44% of women said their ability to do their job had been affected by their symptoms (10)
  • 61% had lost motivation (11)
  • 52% had lost confidence (12)
  • 10% of women employed during their menopause have left work due to their symptoms (13)
  • 14% have reduced hours (14)
  • 14% have gone part time (15)
  • 8% have not applied for a promotion (16)
  • 14 million working days are lost each year, due to the menopause (17)

What does the law say about the menopause?

The menopause is covered under the Equality Act 2010 under sex, gender and disability discrimination, and is at the centre of an increasing number of UK employment tribunals.

In July 2021 the Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression asked members of the roundtable on older workers to look at menopause and employment. The subsequent independent menopause and employment report (18) and Government acceptance (19) was also underlined by the response to Recommendation 6 of the Women and Equalities Select Committees report: government response (20).

One of the recommendations was the appointment in March 2023 of a Government’s Menopause Employment Champion (20)

What can businesses do about the menopause?

Here’s five things your organisation can do now:

1. Start talking about the menopause

If your organisation isn’t already talking about the menopause, it’s time to start. That might look like pulling together a committee of colleagues who can begin to think through what your menopause policies should look like.

2. Raise awareness

Raising awareness and educating people about the menopause is essential in bringing it out into the open. It might be you create a wellbeing campaign around Menopause Awareness Day in October, pull together articles for your intranet, or create your own menopause in the workplace resources.

3. Invest in training and accreditation

It’s really important to make sure your HR team and line managers throughout your business understand the menopause, know how to talk about it, and know what options are available to help women manage symptoms in the workplace.

There’s great advice from CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) on how to start conversations, how to undertake risk assessments, make practical accommodations that can help create a menopause-positive work environment, and how to manage performance and support people to thrive at work.

Meanwhile, menopause in the workplace leader Henpicked have CPD accredited menopause training tailored for managers, HR professionals and colleagues, best practice toolkits and tools that can help you with awareness raising.

4. Develop and standardise menopause accommodations

Small changes can make a really big difference to people. That might be agreeing flexible working or increased breaks for women experiencing heavy periods due to the menopause, providing sanitary products in bathrooms, or providing fans, alternative uniform options or cooler working spaces for those suffering from hot flushes.

Other accommodations might include changes to working hours, tasks or duties, time off for medical appointments, or organising a stress risk assessment.

5. Remind people about their Equipsme plan

Typically, private medical insurance doesn’t cover the ongoing management of menopause symptoms, but if diagnosis is part of your company plan, women who get an open referral from a GP can ask AXA Health to assess if covered to see a specialist through their new Menopause Pathway.

They may also want to access a second opinion and general advice from the Equipsme 24/7 GP, and discounts off hormone level blood tests through our partners Thriva. Ongoing questions about symptoms, medication, and even mood can also be talked through with nurses at the AXA Health at Hand helpline.


(1)    NHS.uk
(2)    themenopausecharity.org
(3) (4) (5)   balance-menopuase.com
(6 – 16)   fawcettsociety.org.uk
(17)   publications.parliament.uk
(18)    brc.org.uk
(19)   gov.uk
(20)   committees.parliament.uk

Other resources

The Menopause Charity
British Menopause Society
Menopause Support

Created: April 2024
Word count: 819