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Home  »   National Association of Women Pharmacists   »   PDA attends ACAS menopause briefings  

PDA attends ACAS menopause briefings  

PDA Legal Advisor, Ruth Williams, attended a series of briefings around the menopause during Autumn 2021. Below, Ruth provides key information from the briefings for members.

Thu 17th February 2022 The PDA

Did you know that a CIPD Bupa survey revealed that almost a million women say they left their employment because of the menopause?

Effects of the menopause on employment

Experiencing the menopause (or perimenopause) can affect employees in many ways, but typically in the areas of:

  • Performance and attendance
  • Sleep and concentration
  • Increased sickness absence
  • Increased workload on team members
  • Relationships at work
  • Career progression.

As the average age of the menopause is 51, this means that symptoms often occur at the peak of a woman’s career. As symptoms of the menopause can include brain fog and memory issues, employees can start to doubt themselves and feel like they’re going to make mistakes. Employees may also find they are more likely to be taken through performance management measures by their employer.

Practical tips for employees

  1. Talk to your line manager as the first step if symptoms are affecting your work.
  2. Consider also opening up to your colleagues about your menopausal symptoms so that you have some extra support at work in addition to your manager.
  3. Ask your employer to undertake a risk assessment, which should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure that the working environment will not make their symptoms worse, addressing issues such as temperature and ventilation, materials used in any uniform or corporate clothing, and access to toilet facilities and cold water.
  4. Do be honest if you are referred for an Occupational Health Assessment, and talk about the symptoms you are experiencing and the effects on your work. Once your employer is aware, there will be more onus on them to help you.
  5. Think of a few practical solutions that might help you manage some of your symptoms if possible. For example, you may like to think about: flexible working or a change to working patterns; a review of your workload to be undertaken; access to showers, toilet facilities and other facilities for sanitary reasons, and so on.

Severe menopausal symptoms in some cases could be classed as a disability, putting the employer under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in any event. However, they can only act on this if they are made aware of your symptoms and how you are being affected.

Employers may discriminate against an employee if they:

  • Fail to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Don’t assess whether there is any causative link between menopause and the employee’s behaviour/performance before taking action.

Make offhand comments relating to menopause, as these may amount to harassment.

By Ruth Williams, PDA Legal Advisor 

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