Menopause and the workplace training course

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  • Released 4th Apr 2022
  • Amanda Steadman
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This menopause online training course will discuss managing menopause at work, and how a workplace can support someone going through menopause.

Menopause has long been a taboo subject, not talked about at home let alone in the workplace. However, in recent years it has started to come out of the shadows. An array of high-profile women have talked about their experiences, including Michelle Obama, Meg Matthews, Sophie Wessex, Lorraine Kelly, Mariella Frostrup and Davina McCall.

As public awareness rises, the conversation has inevitably led on to how the menopause is treated at work and what employers should be doing to support affected workers.

and consider the following issues:

What is menopause and what are the symptoms?

The menopause refers to the point at which the menstrual cycle has stopped for at least one year. The menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs and, as a result, the levels of hormones called oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fall. The menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 to 55 years of age. In the UK, the average age to reach the menopause is 51, meaning the last period usually occurs at the age of 50.

What the workplace struggles to accommodate for is the average menopause journey can span a ten-year period, beginning at around 45 years of age and ending at around 55 years of age. The years leading up to the menopause, the body is already starting to go through hormonal changes. This phase is known as the perimenopause. The perimenopause typically starts around five years before the menopause itself. In addition, many people continue to experience menopausal symptoms for up to four years after the menopause. This phase is known as the post-menopause.

Who is affected?

Every cisgender woman (i.e. a woman whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth) will go through the menopause. For brevity, in this paper I will refer to cisgender women as “women”. Importantly, there is research showing that menopausal symptoms will be experienced in more complex and severe ways by women with certain protected characteristics. For example, black women have reported feeling that their ability at work is under the microscope in a way that it is not for others, with the result they are more likely to conceal their menopausal symptoms at work for fear it would undermine further how others view them and reflect upon their work performance. It is key to note that women going through the menopause could be struggling at work.

Should menopause be viewed as a workplace issue?

Employers tend to regard menopause as a private issue, with training courses for HR professionals and line managers the exception. The result is that many workers are forced to conceal the fact that they are menopausal and struggle on unsupported. Yet it is an issue that employers should be concerned about for a number of important reasons.

Workers who feel unsupported are more likely to experience a loss of confidence, resulting in them shying away from promotion, or leaving the workplace altogether. Bupa Health Clinics carried out research in 2019 which concluded that 900,000 women in the UK had left their jobs due to the menopause.[1] More recent research from the Financial Standards Skills Commission and Standard Chartered Bank showed that half of all menopausal workers within the financial services sector reported that menopause had made them less likely to want to progress in their role, with another quarter saying it made them more likely to want to retire early.[2]

[1] How to manage the menopause at work, People Management (2019).

[2] FSSC / SCB Report: Menopause in the workplace- Impact on women in financial services (2021).

What types of problems may arise and what should good employers be doing now to support menopausal workers?

Another reason for employers to engage with the topic is that a failure to do so can lead to a number of challenging workplace issues. Where these arise, they will take time and money to resolve. It is far better to take preventative steps where possible.

This online training course will touch on the importance of training as a means of avoiding Employment Tribunal disputes. Specific training should be provided to line managers to raise awareness and understanding of the menopause, help them identify symptoms and handle sensitive conversations. Training should also be offered to the wider workforce either on a standalone basis, or as part of dignity at work and/or anti-harassment training programmes.

What legal protections do menopausal workers have and what sorts of things should go into a menopause at work policy?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 obliges employers to take reasonable care of a worker’s health and safety at work. In connection with that, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to undertake risk assessments. This should include risks to those going through the menopause. However, there is no requirement to conduct specific risk assessments for menopausal workers in the same way that there is for pregnant and breastfeeding workers. This menopause online training course will discuss other policies that can be put into place to support better menopause at work policy.

Learning points from recent Employment Tribunal disputes and is the law in this area going to change?

I have analysed the Employment Tribunal claims brought between February 2017 and 16 February 2022 which mentioned the word “menopause”.[1] Over this period, a total of 54 Employment Tribunal decisions have been published which include the word “menopause”.[2] The distribution of these decisions is as follows:















However, during this online training course we will discuss the fact that, in 16 of those 54 decisions, menopause is mentioned only in passing as a minor background issue and is not pertinent to the application or claim before the Employment Tribunal. These leaves 38 relevant decisions over a five-year period. To put this in context, a total of 84,867 Employment Tribunal decisions were published over the same period.

[1] Employment tribunal decisions in England, Wales and Scotland were made freely available on an online register from February 2017. I am only aware of one menopause-related Employment Tribunal decision predating this period, namely Merchant v BT Plc, ET Case No: 1401305/2011.


Have a question? If you have any comments or feedback on this content, please get in touch.

Learning objectives:

  • The different phases of the menopause and the potential impact on health.
  • Which groups of workers are affected by the menopause.
  • Common workplace problems that arise in connection with the menopause.
  • How affected workers are protected in law:
  • - health and safety;
  • - unfair dismissal; and
  • - discrimination protection (in particular, whether menopause is a disability.
  • The prevalence of Employment Tribunal disputes in the last five years and the practical learning points that can be drawn from these claims.
  • Changes on the horizon and what steps good employers can take now to support affected workers.


Your CPD Certificate can be found in your Account.

Amanda Steadman

Principal Knowledge Lawyer • BDBF LLP

Amanda is the Principal Knowledge Lawyer at BDBF LLP, a top-ranked employment law firm in the City of London. She leads the training and know-how function for the firm and its clients.

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