How to create a workplace menopause policy

Dr Enya Doyle explains what a menopause policy at work is and the importance of having one. She also delves into how to go about creating an effective menopause policy and key considerations for organisations when doing so.

You might have heard about the increasing introduction of menopause-accommodating or menopause-friendly policies and wondered why they were necessary, whether your company should have one or even what it includes.

Menopause affects anyone who menstruates. And with studies such as the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) showing the scale of the problem – they found three in five menopausal women were negatively affected at work – it’s important that your organisation considers how to support your employees and create a menopause-friendly workplace. Creating and introducing a menopause policy is a key step in doing this.


What is a menopause policy?

Menopause-accommodating policies encompass a set of guidelines and practices to support employees experiencing menopause and the accompanying physical and mental symptoms.

These policies are standalone documents that aim to complement other policies which create a work environment that acknowledges and addresses the physical and emotional challenges individuals may face during this life stage.


Why do organisations need a menopause policy?

Having a menopause policy signals awareness of and sensitivity to the additional barriers faced in the workplace because of menopausal symptoms. Menopause is a natural life stage that can impact individuals both physically and emotionally inside and outside of work, and a dedicated policy helps create understanding among colleagues and management, contributing to a more compassionate and productive work environment.

The policy can also help provide clarity around what is available in this specific context, bringing other policies which might cover flexible working, sickness leave, uniform codes etc. together in one place to make it easier for colleagues to understand and access information about what support is available for them.

How to write a menopause policy

Creating a menopause policy involves collaboration between employers, employees, and the Human Resources or People Team. Menopause policies should not be introduced overnight without consultation or adequate communication about its existence.

Some key steps to consider before implementing a policy:

Research and education

Understand the impact of menopause on individuals in your particular workplace context e.g. if you have employees who are off-site, or who do not have a desk-based job, off-the-shelf policies may not meet their needs. Educate yourself on best practices and policies already in place in similar organisations.

For example, in 2021, online fashion retailer ASOS offered additional paid leave for “life events” which could be used by those experiencing menopause. They offer the ability to work flexibly, take short notice leave or request to work from home.

Employee involvement

Involve your colleagues in the policy-making process beyond the committee responsible. Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather insights into their experiences and preferences. This is where the importance of training programs for both employees and managers could come in. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can also provide a platform for mutual support and shared experiences.

Implementation and awareness plan

Develop a clear plan for rolling out the policy, including communication strategies and training programmes for employees and managers. Increasing awareness can contribute to a more supportive and understanding workplace culture and set the tone for the new policy.

All employees should receive awareness training on menopause at work, and managers should additionally receive training on how to respond to a request for additional support relating to menopause.

Ensure that your workplace facilities meet the needs of employees experiencing menopausal symptoms, including considerations for restroom facilities, temperature control, and access to private spaces where needed.

Make sure that any policies that this new policy complements reference it, and any changes brought about as a result of the menopause policy are reflected everywhere else.


Consult with experts

Collaborating with experts to enhance the experience for peri-menopausal colleagues could involve support with your strategic approach, help with implementing policies and providing awareness training. By engaging specialists in women’s health and workplace well-being, your company can develop comprehensive policies that address the unique needs of individuals navigating peri-menopausal symptoms.

Through targeted training initiatives, colleagues and managers gain awareness, fostering a supportive environment. This collaborative effort ensures a workplace that not only acknowledges the challenges of peri-menopause but actively works towards creating an inclusive and accommodating atmosphere for all employees.


What should our menopause policy include?

Your policy should outline provisions, resources, and strategies to ensure the well-being and safety of employees experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Your policy should use inclusive language to foster an environment where colleagues feel comfortable discussing their needs and seeking support e.g. recognising that menopause happens to all employees who have periods, and whilst the average age is around 51, it can happen to younger employees too. An emphasis on confidentiality should be woven through the policy as well – who needs to be told, who could be told, and who will tell them?

Legal framework and definitions

Your policies should state key definitions clearly e.g. of menopause, peri-menopause, common symptoms etc. Outline that your commitment to accommodating menopausal colleagues is based, at least in part, in compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Despite recent vociferous debate, menopause is not a standalone protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010, but your policy should recognise that sex, age and disability are all characteristics which provide protection against unfair treatment of employees experiencing menopause.

Your policy could also acknowledge that there are a variety of reasons that people experience menopausal symptoms differently e.g. pre-existing illnesses or disabilities such as depression or chronic pain from Crohn’s Disease or Colitis for example.

Flexibility in working arrangements

Your policy should outline your company’s approach to the various flexible working arrangements that can additionally benefit individuals experiencing menopausal symptoms. This might include part-time work, job-sharing, or hybrid/remote working options. Your policy should also cover the processes for Returning to Work – where employees take leave for menopause-related symptoms.

Mental health support

Your policy should explicitly refer to mental health support available such as in-house counselling services, access to medical insurance, or employee assistance programs (EAP), and Occupational Health.

Health and wellbeing initiatives

Your policy might also reference wellness benefits available e.g. fitness classes, gym memberships, or mindfulness sessions, that can positively impact individuals experiencing menopause. Although this should not be the only provision offered.

Feedback and continuous improvement

Feedback is crucial to continuous improvement. Invite feedback on the policy from all areas of the business and state this clearly within the policy itself, including to whom or where. This section could also reference Employee Resource Groups or Policy Leads, Menopause Champions etc.

Importantly, your policy should recognise that employees should be part of the decisions made about what provisions are made for them. Employees should not as standard be made to suddenly work from home because they are experiencing menopausal symptoms, unless that is mutually agreed as the best option for them.

External resources

Your policy should provide signposting information on external resources and organisations that specialise in menopause support. This can include charities (such as the Menopause Charity), health organisations, or professional networks dedicated to menopause awareness and education.

FAQ section

Your policy could include a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to address common queries that employees may have about accessing support and workplace accommodations in your particular context.

For example:

Can I take time off work for menopause symptoms?

Yes, employees at [x] have the right to take time off work if they are unwell due to symptoms related to peri-menopause. This falls under [x leave policy], and employees should follow the usual process for reporting. You can speak with your line manager or directly with the People Team to discuss which reasonable accommodations should be made to support you during this time. We will also support you with your Return to Work.

Will information about my menopausal symptoms be kept confidential?

Yes, all information related to an employee’s health, including menopausal symptoms, is treated confidentially. It will only be shared with those who need to know for accommodation purposes, and your privacy will be respected.


At the end of the policy, you could include a flowchart which outlines how colleagues can access help. You could have a similar flowchart available to line managers or a checklist for managers.

Creating a menopause-accommodating workplace in the UK involves collaboration, education, and a commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive culture. By implementing a thoughtful menopause policy, organisations can contribute to the well-being and job satisfaction of their employees. We can help you build a menopause-accommodating workplace.

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