Supporting employees experiencing menopausal symptoms – the EHRC releases guidance for employers

Wednesday 27th March 2024

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new guidance on menopause in the workplace. The guidance aims to help employers understand their legal obligations when supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Impact of menopause

Research done by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that two thirds (67%) of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms said they have had a mostly negative impact on them at work. Significantly, as a result of this negative effect in the workplace, over half of respondents were able to think of a time when they were unable to go into work due to their menopause symptoms. Further research by the Fawcett Society found that one in 10 women surveyed who were employed during the menopause, left work due to menopause symptoms.

Legal obligations

Under the Equality Act 2010, workers are protected from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. An employee experiencing menopausal symptoms who is discriminated against may be able to bring a claim for disability, age and sex discrimination under the Act. If menopausal symptoms have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a worker’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, employees may be considered disabled under the Act. In this instance, employers will be under a duty to make reasonable adjustments. These may include:

  • Changes to the physical work environment, such as room temperature and ventilation, providing rest areas and cooling systems, and the relaxing of uniform policies.
  • Promoting flexibility, such as allowing hybrid working, changing shift patterns, and varying start and finish times.
  • Recording menopause-related absence separately from other absence due to the potential discrimination risks of taking disciplinary or other action for such absence.

The guidance emphasises the potential risk of claims for an employer’s failure to make reasonable adjustments, direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. It also highlights the obligation to conduct a workplace risk assessment under health and safety legislation.

The guidance can be found here.


As awareness around the effect of menopause symptoms increases, it is a topic which is being more frequently raised in the workplace.

For advice in relation to supporting employees suffering symptoms of menopause, disability, age or sex discrimination, or reasonable adjustments for employees in relation to this topic, please get in touch with a member of the Employment Team who will be happy to help.