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Menopause and perimenopause: the legal framework and employer’s obligations


Not all women suffer the symptoms of menopause, however others can suffer from extreme physical and psychological symptoms that can have a negative impact their performance and attendance at work and also on their relationships with colleagues. 

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed two-thirds (67 per cent) of working women between the ages of 40-60 who experienced menopause symptoms reported that the symptoms had a mostly negative impact on them at work. 

Employers must therefore consider their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and how they can best support these staff. 

Health and safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty of care on employers in the UK to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work and to consider any risks to their health and wellbeing from the working environment. This extends to employees experiencing symptoms of menopause. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that any factors in the workplace do not worsen someone’s menopausal symptoms or related health and wellbeing.

Practical steps for employers

Each person experiences menopause differently. It is therefore important for employers to avoid making assumptions about how to respond and support their employees who are experiencing menopause. 

Where employers are considering reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 or discussing practical measures with employees to lessen the impact of menopause symptoms at work, these measures can include:

  • Relaxing uniform policies where possible 
  • Varying shift patterns
  • Providing rest areas and quite rooms  
  • Supporting flexible working arrangements
  • Reviewing policies and processes to ensure they include recognition of the impact of menopause symptoms to help managers be consistent in their approach to staff, for example, recording menopause-related absence separately from sickness absence 

Our LGA menopause at work resources have advice on changes you can make to your workplace culture, policies and working environment to support employees experiencing symptoms of menopause. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a video explaining measures employers can take to mitigate the impact of menopause on employees at work. 

Being a Menopause Friendly Employer

Local government has a female dominated workforce (75 per cent) and an older workforce with over 66 per cent of our workforce aged between 40-60 (LGA Local Government Workforce Summary Data November 2023). This means a significant portion of our workforce will be affected by menopausal symptoms the course of their daily duties. 

Being a Menopause Friendly Employer is one of the ways councils can work towards long-term, sustainable change in their workplaces, fostering a fair and inclusive culture where everyone can feel confident and perform at their best. Promoting good employment practice for employees experiencing menopausal symptoms and good wellbeing at work will help councils to retain talent and to be attractive to new recruits. 

Our LGA menopause at work resources offer advice and insight into what changes you can make to your workplace culture, policies and working environment that will support you as a Menopause Friendly Employer.