The CIPD has been keeping the spotlight on menopause supportive workplaces since we first launched our workplace resources and Manifesto for Menopause at Work in 2019. Since then, there has been real momentum in the drive to create menopause-supportive cultures. In 2019, just 10% of organisations had a framework to support people through menopause transition, but in 2023, that figure has reached 46%. 

This is great progress, and means the foundations are building for a future where any employee with menopause symptoms in any workplace can receive understanding and support. The UK Government is playing its part by backing an important call the CIPD made in 2019 to appoint a menopause ambassador to work across governmental departments. We were delighted when Helen Tomlinson, Head of Talent (UK & Ireland) at the Adecco Group, was appointed as the first Menopause Employment Champion, and in July 2023, we announced our close collaboration with Helen and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) team. 

Right time for a government-backed, employer-led campaign 

However, to make further progress, we would also like to see the government back an employer-led campaign to create more menopause-friendly workplaces, building on and supporting the work of Helen and the DWP team, as outlined in our Manifesto for Good Work. This would further help to address the gap in workplace support that is still needed in many workplaces, as CIPD research shows.   

Gap in menopause provision needs to close completely  

The most recent CIPD UK survey of 2,185 working women aged 40-60 with menopause symptoms showed that more than one in four (27%) – an estimated 1.2 million in the labour market – think that menopause has negatively affected their career progression. This is even worse for employees with a disability/long-term health condition, or those from an ethnic minority where the figures are 36% and 38% respectively.    

The UK economy also risks losing valuable skills and talent completely due to the gap in support that persists in some organisations. Our findings showed that 17% of women with menopause symptoms have considered leaving work and 6% have already quit their job.    

People need practical as well as compassionate support  

A healthy workplace culture is a core factor influencing how employees with menopause symptoms feel supported. But most also need practical support and helpful adjustments to manage the impact of their symptoms on work.    

There’s a wide range of measures organisations can adopt to help their people manage menopause symptoms, but our research shows that the most valued are:  

  • planned flexible working  
  • ability to control local temperature  
  • last-minute or unplanned late starts after sleep disturbance  
  • more breaks when needed  
  • occupational health support.  

It’s important that support is tailored to the individual because symptoms fluctuate and are experienced by people very differently. Small changes can often make a big difference, but the best approach is to have a sensitive and supportive conversation to find out what would be most helpful. Therefore, it’s essential that employers educate line managers about menopause transition. They need to be comfortable and confident to talk about it and know what policies and support are available.    

CIPD women’s health parliament event 

Finally, we are keeping our policy spotlight on women’s health and will be holding a parliament event in November to discuss our new and forthcoming survey findings on menopause and menstrual health and the organisational and policy implications.   

CIPD’s latest webinar on menopause  

Watch the CIPD’s webinar on Creating menopause supportive workplaces, featuring Helen Tomlinson. You can also find other menopause resources on the CIPD website, including the report findings from the latest survey. 

About the authors

Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser, Resourcing and Inclusion

Claire specialises in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion, flexible working, resourcing and talent management. She has also conducted research into meaning and trust at work, age diversity, workplace carers and enterprise and has worked on a number of international projects. She is the author of several reports and articles and regularly presents at seminars and conferences.

Rachel Suff, Senior Policy Adviser, Employee Relations

Rachel Suff joined the CIPD as a policy adviser in 2014 to increase the CIPD’s public policy profile and engage with politicians, civil servants, policy-makers and commentators to champion better work and working lives. An important part of her role is to ensure that the views of the profession inform CIPD policy thinking on issues such as health and wellbeing, employee engagement and employment relations. As well as conducting research on UK employment issues, she helps guide the CIPD’s thinking in relation to European developments affecting the world of work. Rachel’s prior roles include working as a researcher for XpertHR and as a senior policy adviser at Acas.

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