Menopause: Returning to Work

Returning to the workplace after a leave of absence

Since the last issue of Compliance Matters, Handsam has been generating ways of supporting those going through menopause and experiencing menopausal symptoms.

An estimated 13 million people are living with menopause in the UK yet a growing number of people of menopausal age are having to give up their careers when facing extreme symptoms because of the lack of support available in their workplace. This is why it's so important to have resources and support systems available and easily accessible.

Menopause is a significant health issue and some may have had to take a leave of absence because of it. Some may have even been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article highlights some of the things schools and academies can do to make a smoother return to work for those with menopausal symptoms.

Reasonable adjustments

Employers may have to implement reasonable adjustments for those transitioning back into work. These adjustments will need to be created on a case-by-case basis as everyone will have different needs.

Reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Reduced manual handling;
  • Concentration aid;
  • Less exposure to chemicals and hazardous substances e.g. in the science department;
  • Taking more breaks e.g. due to fatigue or not being able to stand for long periods of time;
  • Flexible working hours and phased return;
  • Support for other significant health issues; and
  • Accessibility e.g. are ramps and lifts available?

The needs of each person will first need to be assessed through risk assessment. This will examine the hazards they come into contact with during their day-to-day work and help to determine the adjustments that need to be made and then named in the workplace menopause policy.

Client queries

The Handsam client support team have received a few queries about workplace menopause since last term's issue. Here is an example of one of the queries we had and our response...


A member of staff has received an email from Handsam regarding menopause in the workplace. Could you provide us with some further information as we have employed around 6 women of typical menopausal age? Would you be able to send me some information or point me in the direction of where to find some?


Handsam’s recent article about menopause in the workplace is available here. It includes a brief guide on how to build a menopause policy and what to include in it.

Available here is a government document that includes information on how to build a menopause policy and what you can do in terms of training and management, which you may find useful.

UNISON also provide some very useful guidance here and a model policy is available at the end of the document.

Additionally, something to keep in mind is that every menopause policy is different and much of it will come from negotiating with and talking to employees as everyone experiences menopause differently and they will each have individual needs to cater for.

For any questions or queries, the Handsam Client Support Team are happy to help and can be contacted via telephone 03332 070737 or email

What are the symptoms?

Not everyone who goes through menopause will find their working lives are impacted by extreme symptoms, but one in four women will experience symptoms that adversely affect their work.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Sleep disruption;
  • Fatigue;
  • Hot flushes;
  • Migraines;
  • Muscle pain; and
  • Poor concentration.

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • 'Brain fog';
  • Apathy; and
  • Low self-esteem.

Handsam resources

Compliance Matters: Menopause in the Workplace

AB05 Return to Work Interview Guidance

EO15 Reasonable Adjustments for Staff

Please note: The Handsam team is in the midst of generating a template workplace menopause policy, which will be available soon. If any support is needed in the meantime, please contact Handsam via telephone 03332 070737 or email


Read IOSH’s article ‘Pause for Thought’ in their latest magazine HERE.

IOSH: How to manage the menopause video.

NEU has a model menopause policy available here as well as a menopause toolkit.

NASUWT: Managing the Menopause in the Workplace.

ACAS: Menopause at Work.