Handling conversations about the Menopause

Many women find it particularly hard to talk to their Manager about the menopause and the

effects this may be having on them in the workplace. They fear that they may not be taken

seriously and they worry that their Manager may not understand the symptoms and the

impact the menopause can have on women.

Equally some Managers may find a conversation about the menopause daunting and worry

they will get it wrong.

Regardless of your gender, age or personal experience all Managers should have an awareness of the menopause. It may take a lot of courage for your employee to approach you, and/or they may find it particularly awkward or embarrassing. Understanding the menopause and how you can support them will make a potentially difficult conversation easier for both parties.

• Make them feel at ease, use open body language and demonstrate you are there to listen

• Let them talk to you, don’t interrupt or make assumptions

• Acknowledge this is a normal stage of life and that you’re there to help and support

• Understand how the symptoms are presenting in the work place and ask

them what may help them day to day

• Remember each employee is different, and it’s important to understand how the menopause

is affecting them personally

• Consider what adjustments can be easily made. If some adjustments are not practical, explain why but discuss other options and agree a resolution

• Ask the employee if they’ve spoken to their GP and if not encourage them to book an appointment

• Direct them to the resources available; such as the Supportive Guide and encourage them to consider all options along with the support you can offer

• Agree to review adjustments regularly and be prepared for changes; their symptoms may vary over time

• Consider an Occupational Health referral if the adjustments don’t help or the situation worsens

It’s also possible that when addressing performance or behavioural issues you may suspect

the employee is suffering with symptoms associated with the menopause, but the employee

is completely unaware. In these situations, encourage the employee to speak to their GP

about their symptoms. A referral to Occupational Health may also be considered if deemed


Helpful tips for assisting employees

Ask open questions and be prepared for their response.

Be patient it may not be an easy conversation

Avoid giving advice based on your own experience or hearsay, what works for one person may not work for another

Don’t get embarrassed. The menopause is a natural life cycle that affects all women at some point.

Choose the right location

Adjustments can sometimes be simple. E.g. provide a desk fan to help with hot flushes or review break times to help with fatigue.