What are the financial implications of menopause in the workplace?

Workplace environment, Watch/Listen

Menopause related symptoms can impact businesses and organisations so it’s important to know the areas of your business they may affect financially because right now it may be an invisible cost.

Let’s look at how menopause can impact the workplace financially.

Four key areas

There are four specific ways in which your organisation will, or may be directly affected by menopause symptoms include:

  • Financial Costs
  • Staff Retention
  • Performance and Productivity
  • Company Reputation

Taken from the 2017 University of Leicester report, “The effects of menopause on women’s economic participation in the UK”, the report draws upon evidence from across the world and informs us that the negative impacts of symptoms on economic participation include:

  • Reduced engagement with work
  • Reduced job satisfaction
  • Reduced commitment to the organisation
  • Higher sickness absence
  • An increased desire to leave work altogether.

The evidence also suggests that menopausal related-symptoms might also have negative effect on:

  • Time management
  • Emotional resilience
  • The ability to complete tasks effectively
  • Lower performance and productivity

What are the hidden costs of menopause in the workplace?

According to a government report by Government Equalities Office in 2017, the menopause is costing the UK economy millions every year because employers don’t understand the impact menopause can have on women or their businesses.

Menopause: Hidden costs for the workplace

Let’s look at some potential hidden costs.

Menopause: absence-related costs

The report by Government Equalities Office in 2017 indicated a conservative estimate was that there was an absence of 174,200 women aged between 50 and 54 due to them struggling with their menopause-related symptoms which cost the economy at least £7.3million in “absence-related costs”.

But this estimate failed to include other costs like “symptom-related lateness for work, lost productivity due to medical appointments during working hours [and] women who reduce their working hours or day to symptoms”.

Can menopause impact your recruitment costs?

As far back as 2014, according to the HR Review magazine, replacing leavers costs in the region of £30,000 including direct recruitment costs, as well as the less tangible elements of bringing a new member of the team up to speed through induction and on-boarding to the required level of productivity and performance.

Bearing in mind a woman going through menopause may well be a senior member of staff which means, depending upon the organisation and the level of her seniority, finding, recruiting and on-boarding her replacement could take many months.

Based on a survey of women over the age of 50 across the country and looking specifically at behaviours of women aged 50 to 64, from the core menopause age group new report findings reveal the impact doesn’t stop there, with over 370,000 working women in the UK aged between 50 and 64 admitting they have left or considered leaving their career, because dealing with the symptoms in the workplace is too difficult.

Can menopause affect performance and productivity?

Almost a third of working women in the core menopause age of between 50 and 64 are having to reluctantly take time out of the working week to alleviate menopausal symptoms.  Across the year this mounts up to over 24 hours which has a potential productivity loss, across the UK female workforce, of 14 million working days.

Can menopause be a potential legal cost to the workplace?

Between 2020 and 2021 there’s been a 44% increase in tribunals citing menopause.

What are examples of Menopause Employment Tribunals?

Such cases are:

Merchant v BT plc 2012

This was the first menopause tribunal case.

Ms Merchant was underperforming in her role and being managed through their standard procedure.

Her manager decided not to investigate any further and relied on his knowledge of the menopause.

The manager acted contrary to organisation’s own policy so Employment Tribunal upheld the claim of discrimination.

Davies v Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services 2018

Total award £19,000 including £5,000 for injury to feelings for disability discrimination

The Glasgow Employment Tribunal found that her dismissal was linked to disability for the purposes of section 15 of the Equality Act 2010

Read more here 

A v Bonmarch 2019

She resigned and suffered a complete breakdown due to harassment and bullying she had endured.

The claimant was awarded £28k. £10,000 was for loss of earnings, £18,000 was injury to feelings as a result of the serious bullying and harassment she had suffered.

Read more here 


More useful content

Why menopause is a difficult topic for the workplace

Can menopause affect the mental health of your colleagues in the workplace?

If you’d like to introduce menopause awareness training for your business or organisation get in touch today, and we can have a chat about my courses and talks and how they can help you talk about menopause without worrying you’ll say or do the wrong thing.

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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