Should women be given menopause leave?

Should women be given menopause leave?

The issue of whether or not female employees should be entitled to other, more specific, types of benefits has been rolling round the HR sphere for a while now. With news that certain companies are allowing women to take ‘period leave’, a day off every month when their period pains take hold, has led some businesses to question whether ‘menopause leave’ should be enacted.    

Recently, a Government report suggested that desk fans should be installed in offices in order to help women going through the menopause. The report from the Government Equalities Office, found that a lot of female workers struggle in traditional office environments due to hot flushes and headaches associated with the menopause.

What’s more, one quarter of women going through the menopause have considered leaving work. A study from ITV Tonight found that 85% of those surveyed believed that there should be health guidelines in place to deal with menopausal staff. Furthermore, in 2015, Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, advised employers that in order to keep a diverse workforce, more action needs to be taken to help menopausal women in work.

“The menopause is a natural part of life, but it can feel like a great taboo,” Dame Davies told the Daily Mail. “It is inexcusable that women who are experiencing symptoms should feel unable to discuss how they are feeling at work. I want to encourage managers to ensure working women feel as comfortable discussing their symptoms as they would any other issues affecting them in the workplace.”

However, not everyone was onboard with the idea. Jenni Murray, Presenter of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, said that it was wrong to “to single out women over 45 as a victim group in need of special attention”.

Speaking on the issue, Zoe Taylor, Head of HR – BAE Systems, tells us: “I'm loving some of the comments especially how some of the ‘experts’ are either not of the relevant age or even gender.  Walk a mile in woman's shoes. It can cause depression, anxiety, horrendous bleeding, pain, mood swings, lack of sleep, joint pain etc. It's definitely important to seek help from the doctor.  I'm not sure special leave is required, just some reasonable adjustments.”

But, what are your thoughts on the topic? We asked our audience whether or not women should be given menopause leave. The results of the poll, along with your comments, can be seen on the next page...

Comments (3)

  • Mary Sevremont
    Mary Sevremont
    Mon, 4 Sep 2017 2:05pm BST
    I am in menopause at age 36. Sadly, mine is due to having ovarian cancer - the wonderful journey meant that I had to have major surgery, having my insides either removed, re sectioned or repaired. I had 40 staples, a suprapubic catheter for 6 weeks, radiotherapy, a blood clots and a 12 week recovery (I am sporting some significant scars!).

    Then the delightful menopause - the fact that I cannot sleep, every single bone in my body aches - I don't mean it just aches a bit, it aches all the time, like niggling tooth ache, I am fed up of hot flushes, mood swings, the migraines and being exhausted.

    That said, I put on my positive pants, work full time at a director level position, look after three children under 10, run a recruitment business, run a house including cooking all means, washing ironing etc.

    I have an understanding boss - a male too - one who is sympathetic to my situation, after he has supported his wife through menopause.

    Apologies if this impacts on all the guys who are moaning about equality - this is something that is just applicable to females, your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters will all have to deal with this during their life;
  • Helen Hooper
    Helen Hooper
    Wed, 23 Aug 2017 3:55pm BST
    Whilst it is always good to have a conversation on this topic, is giving leave nothing more than a sticky plaster.

    Surely a more long-term solution would be to provide real and achievable help to women in the workplace that would keep them in their jobs and functioning to their usual levels of productivity.

    The menopause isn't an illness, nor does it have to come with all the 'symptoms' that so many women now seem to suffer from.

    Addressing wellness as a valued part of any company structure would be much more productive way of supporting women through this time in their lives.

    Nutrition, exercise and mindset play an invaluable role in navigating the menopause, and bringing this into workplaces in a useable format would certainly be a positive step forward that would benefit both the staff and the companies they work for.

  • Orwell
    Mon, 7 Aug 2017 3:30pm BST
    Absolutely not.
    Same goes for Period pain leave, bad make up leave, I took a bad selfie leave, I only got 100 likes on my birthday and feel depressed leave and I meant to order a skinny latte but got a caramel infused, triple shot expresso with chocolate shavings and double cream and feel guilty leave etc.
    Women have total equality..... so stop wanting everything.
    Perhaps it's a case of "Some are more equal than others"


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