The legal profession must be more open about experiencing the menopause at work, the Law Society has said, in guidance to mark Menopause Awareness Month.
In a series of recommendations published in conjunction with healthcare support business Peppy, the Law Society said the menopause is still ‘taboo’ in the workplace and staff are reluctant to raise the topic.
‘Managers do not need to be menopause experts. Managers simply need an understanding of how menopause might affect some women and a willingness to have an open conversation particularly in regard to the practical needs of the employee,’ the guidance said.
Steps such as ensuring access to cool areas in the office and flexible working hours for those struggling to sleep due to the menopause were recommended.
According to figures cited in the House of Commons in 2018, 50% of women find working difficult due to the menopause and 10% consider leaving work altogether.
President of the Law Society Simon Davis said: ‘The menopause is not an insignificant amount of time in someone’s working life – and yet, it is often a taboo subject in the workplace. With women now comprising over 60% of new entrants to the profession, it is high time to normalise discussions around menopause in the workplace.’
Davis added that three out of four women experience symptoms, with one out of four having symptoms troublesome enough to affect their everyday life.
‘It is important to recognise that individual experiences of the menopause will vary greatly and that transgender men and women, non-binary and intersex people may also experience menopausal symptoms,' Davis said.
‘Firms and legal businesses should try to create a culture which encourages openness, where those experiencing the menopause feel comfortable asking for the help they need to manage their symptoms.’