How to Manage Menopause in The Workplace

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Unfortunately, all women will experience menopause at some stage in their life. Being aware of what changes might happen to your body can help manage menopausal symptoms and make life a bit easier. Most women have full-time jobs, modern days are not like previous years when women would only be housewives. This means that there are women experiencing menopause and still need to be at work for a full day.

Challenges in the Workplace: Managing Menopause Symptoms

Menopause can take a big toll on women at work, some women might need to take a day off or even leave their jobs. Despite menopause being a natural part of life for women, it is still a forbidden subject in the workplace. Most women feel uncomfortable speaking about menopause at work and do not seek support from co-workers and managers when they struggle to cope at work.


The Role of Feminism and Workplace Dynamics

Feminism has a role to play here since some women in management positions might feel threatened of losing their jobs when discussing menopause as they fear being seen as less competent. Experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, brain fog, and mood swings during work can increase stress for women and lower their productivity.

Legislation Regarding Menopause in The Workplace

Even though it might be difficult to stay focused at work and you are worried about keeping your position at work during menopause. There is hope, that legal legislation in the UK states that menopausal employees are protected against discrimination under policies such as the Equality Act of 2010

While some policies are put in place to protect menopausal women in the workplace, there are still women who decide to resign, especially if they do not feel safe to ask for support. Leaving a job is not the only problem for women with menopause, some women struggle to pursue promotion because of menopausal symptoms. 


Taking Time Off Work Because of Menopausal Symptoms

Yes, if you feel that your menopausal symptoms are getting worse and you are struggling to cope at work, your doctor may suggest taking time off work to focus on your physical and mental well-being. Menopausal symptoms such as sleeping problems, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings can have a significant impact on your ability to perform at work. Taking time off work can help to manage these symptoms and decrease the chances of developing anxiety and depression during menopause. Communication is key, it is important that you speak to your employer about difficulties at work and find reasonable accommodations together that can help you perform your job responsibilities. 

Seeking help from human resources can also be helpful during this time. You need to remember that you have the right to work in a supportive environment that will prioritise your well-being in the company. Under the Equality Act 2010, your employer has a legal duty to provide reasonable accommodations. 


Reasonable Accommodations For Menopausal Women

It is vital that your work environment is supportive and prioritises your well-being. If you feel that your ability to do your work is being affected by menopause, then you should consider having an open discussion with your manager/employer. It can be a sensitive topic to discuss but this will give your employer a chance to understand your circumstances and help to improve your work environment. Reasonable accommodations can include, working flexible hours, air conditioning, adjustments to the work you are doing, adjusting your workload, and taking time off when necessary. If you are not sure how to start the conversation with your manager, it is advised that you speak to human resources for guidance.


Returning to Work After Time Off 

You might feel intimidated returning back to work after time off. It is important to know that your employer is there for support and that you are not alone. Again, communication is key, it is important to let your employer or human resources know with what you need help with during your transition back to work.  No matter in what stage of menopause you find yourself, it is important to know your rights and protections as an employee in a workplace. 


Can Menopause Be Considered a Disability in The Workplace?

Menopause at work is covered by certain legislation to protect women in the workplace. Under the Equality Act 2010, menopause is covered under three characteristics: age, sex, and disability discrimination. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides for a safe working environment which includes working conditions for menopausal women with symptoms. 

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