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Lack of menopause support at work pushing women to resign

Nearly half (45%) of working women with menopause consider retiring or taking a break from work, yet employer support could help keep them in the workforce.

According to new research by employee experience platform Circle In, almost half (48%) of menopausal women have struggled with a drop in confidence at work, and 46% felt stressed by having to hide their experience.

The difference between staying or leaving work though may only be a matter of support though, as 76% of those asked said they want better support from their employer.

Respondents suggested that access to an employee support network, information or other advice would be helpful to them when going through through the challenging period.

Kate Palmer, HR advice director at Peninsula, said employers need to be sensitive and understanding to women at work going through menopause.

She told HR magazine: “If an employee discloses that they are having difficulties due to the symptoms associated with the menopause, reasonable steps should be taken to assist and improve their daily working activities.

“It is important to remember that every employee’s needs should be addressed individually, sensitively and confidentially.”

While menopause itself is not a disability, Palmer said the associated symptoms could be, meaning that employees will be protected by the Equality Act 2010. She also encouraged HR to consider the response to specific symptoms, such as being aware of the hot areas of the workplace.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said it was important they received support from their manager to overcome challenges dealing with menopause in the workplace presents.

Yet, more than half (53%) did not feel comfortable talking to their manager or employer about their challenges.

This was often due to an issue of gender, as 22% said they would not feel comfortable sharing their challenges with their manager because he is male, or because the workplace was male dominated.

Palmer said employers should consider how to encourage better communication between managers and employees about menopause. 

“Employers should also consider operating a zero-tolerance approach towards bullying and harassment due to gender or age and ensure decisions made are not indirectly discriminatory towards employees experiencing menopause,” she said.

Circle In co-founder, Jodi Geddes, added that people leaders must raise awareness of menopause in general too.

She said: “This will help to foster a workplace culture where the topic is taken seriously.

“When everyone, including managers with little understanding of menopause, become familiar with the issues involved, those experiencing menopause feel more comfortable asking for the support they need.”

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