CIPD calls on employers to break menopause taboo in the workplace

(2 minutes to read)

The CIPD is launching a free guide on managing the menopause at work in order to help break the silence surrounding the ‘taboo’ topic.

Business owners will be interested to learn that as many as 59% of women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopausal symptoms say it has a negative impact on their work.

The CIPD surveyed 1,409 women going through the menopause and of those who were affected negatively at work, they reported the following issues:

  • 65% said they were less able to concentrate
  • 58% said they experience more stress
  • 52% said they felt less patient with clients and colleagues.

Furthermore, 30% said they had taken sick leave because of their symptoms – but only a quarter felt comfortable enough to tell their manager the real reason for their absence.

This was due to privacy (45%), embarrassment (34%) and having an unsupportive manager (32%).

To break the stigma associated with the menopause, the CIPD has released free guidance on managing the menopause in the workplace. It recommends that employers educate and train line managers so they are knowledgeable and confident to have sensitive conversations with staff about their symptoms and any adjustments that might be needed.

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It emphasises that even small changes like having a fan or access to flexible working can make a big difference in how women manage their symptoms and thrive in their jobs.

Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser for the CIPD, commented, “It’s likely that nearly every workplace in the UK has someone experiencing the menopause right now but many managers are in the dark on how best to support them. Rather than it being a workplace taboo, line managers should be ready to treat the menopause like any other health condition and have open, supportive conversations with women in their teams.

“Our guidance shows that if employers create a culture where everyone can talk openly about health issues, such as the menopause, women are much more likely to feel confident about asking for the support they need to be effective in their role. Mangers also need to work closely with their HR teams to understand what simple, practical adjustments can be made to help women feel more comfortable and able to manage their work.”

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