Menopause in the workplace: What is flexible working and what options can you offer?

Menopause Flexible Working, Read, Workplace environment

Perhaps you’re considering offering flexible working to those struggling with menopause symptoms in your workplace.

Perhaps you’re curious about what it is and what options are available to you to offer.

Perhaps it’s something else about flexible working.

In this blog I’m going to talk about how to provide flexible working for those struggling with their menopause symptoms.

What flexible working is and how the lack of it in your organisation could be affecting those struggling with their menopause symptoms, the many benefits flexible working could bring to your organisation, what flexible options you can consider and if you need to make the flexible working agreement formal or not with your colleague.

What is flexible working?

‘Flexible working’ describes a type of working arrangement which gives a degree of flexibility on how long, where, when and at what times employees work.

Source: CIPD


Are there enough people affected by menopause symptoms to justify offering flexible working?

How many women may be affected in the workplace?

  • Almost 8 out of 10 of menopausal women are in work.
  • The fastest growing demographic in the workforce are menopausal women.
  • It’s estimated that currently, around 13 million women in the UK are either peri-menopausal or menopausal. This is equal to one third of the entire UK female population.


The Menopause Survey 2018 highlighted that:

  • 76% said their symptoms were moderately or extremely problematic at work
  • 20% said they had considered leaving work
  • This increased to 44% for those whose symptoms were extremely problematic
  • 35% of respondents had taken annual leave or rest days to take time off because of their symptoms.

Evidence also suggests that menopause symptoms may also have a negative effect on:

  • Time management.
  • Emotional resilience.
  • Ability to complete tasks effectively.
  • Lower productivity.


Benefits of providing flexible working for those struggling with menopause symptoms

  • Because it’s the right thing to do for your employees.
  • Builds strong, respectful employee relationships.
  • Improves recruitment – your business becomes the employer of choice.
  • Improves retention of key experienced and skilled staff.
  • Improves mental health and wellbeing.
  • A step towards being an inclusive employer – For some groups of people, the ability to work flexibly is critical. Many women, older workers, single parents and people with physical disabilities or mental health issues can only work if they can find a part-time or flexible role.
  • Improves productivity.
  • Reduces costs of recruitment and reduces ill-health absence and cover.
  • Reduces risk to the organisation in costly and reputation damaging employment disputes.


What flexible working arrangements can you offer to those struggling with menopause symptoms?

How many ways can you implement flexible working?

Let’s look at your potential options.

  • Part-time: Working less than full-time hours and/or working fewer days.
  • Job share: Two or more people do one job and split the hours.
  • Split role: Tasks divided between two part-time job holders.
  • Split shifts: A working shift comprising two or more separate periods of duty in a day.
  • Staggered hours: the employee has different start, finish and break times from the other staff.
  • Staggered weeks: a formal agreement to work outside of the organisations normal hours.
  • Compressed hours: working full-time hours but over fewer days.
  • Home/remote working: regularly or formally agreed
  • Phased retirement: gradually reduced working hours and/or responsibilities to transition from full-time work to full-time retirement.
  • Annualised hours: working hours spread across the year.
  • Sabbatical: employee takes a period of time away from work, over and above annual leave; usually the job is kept open for them to return.
  • Career break: employee takes unpaid time off work. Contract is suspended or ended, without a guaranteed return, depending on policy and individual agreement.
  • Flexi/lieu time: the paid time off work an employee gets for having worked additional hours.
  • Personal/family day: days of authorised leave


Do you need to make flexible working arrangements formal?

  • The flexible working arrangement between you and your employee or colleague can be informal or formal.
  • You can also decide to update or amend the employment contract you have with your employee.
  • You can provide flexible working policies in your employer’s handbook.
  • Have the flexible working agreement between the line manager and the employee.




Want to know more about menopause awareness for your workplace? 

Here’s some further reading. 

Want to arrange your online menopause training? Email me

IMPORTANTThe Menopause Training Company content is for guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal advice.
The law may change from the date of me publishing this content. Always acquire your own legal advice.
The content I create explains and outlines the laws that apply to England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland employment law varies.

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