Why support is important
Menopause symptoms can manifest themselves physically and emotionally. The menopause is a natural transition which most women and people who have a menstrual cycle age 45-55 (generally but not always) will experience. Some individuals will experience debilitating symptoms whilst others will have mild or no symptoms. There are many different factors that can impact how individuals experience or perceive menopause, for example, disability, age, race, culture, sexual orientation or religion. These factors may all contribute to how menopause is managed and experienced – not everyone will experience menopause in the same way.
The University is committed to supporting the wellbeing of all staff throughout their menopause transition.
Senior Stakeholder Sponsor for supporting the raising of menopause awareness at Queen Mary
Dr Sharon Ellis, Chief Operations Officer :
“Inclusivity is a core value at Queen Mary University of London, so looking after our people is enshrined in our thinking. Supporting staff through their menopause is a key example of living our values. We need management practices that enable people to talk about any impacts of the menopause on how they think and feel. We also need to promote and encourage people to engage with the support available to meet our mission of a truly inclusive environment."
The Employee Assistance Programme
The Employee Assistance Programme is a free, confidential and independent resource to help staff balance their work, family and personal life. Support is available anytime (24 hours), any day, by phone, email or online. The service provides information, resources, referrals and counselling on any issue; this includes support and guidance in relation to menopausal matters, work-life balance, relationships, debt, child care, anxiety and depression, bereavement and loss and much more.
The Employee Assistance Programme can be contacted on:
Occupational Health Works
Occupational Health Works (OH Works) focuses on the health and wellbeing of staff in the workplace. Their aim to find out what impact work has on staff’s health. In making their assessment they are responsible for advising the University and the member of staff if they are fit to undertake the role they are employed to do both physically and emotionally. Occupational Health Works is able to provide advice on whether any adjustments are needed on a temporary or permanent basis to enable a member of staff to undertake their role safely and effectively. They are also able to provide staff with health advice and signpost staff to medical specialists. Referrals to OH Works are processed through a management referral.
The HR Department - Employee Relations Team
The HR Department has an Employee Relations Team which consists of Employee Relations Managers and Employee Relations Advisers who are responsible for supporting different areas of the University on a range of employee relations matters, this includes staff’s wellbeing. You can find details of the Employee Relations contact who supports your area of the University on our About Us page under the HR Teams sections.
How the Employee Relations Team can help staff
The team can help in a number of ways:
Should menopausal symptoms be impacting a member of staff’s work and they feel unable to discuss the situation with their line manager for a number of reasons for example:
- it is considered as a private or personal matter;
- symptoms might be embarrassing to share with others;
- they do not know their line manager well enough;
- they are not sure if their line manager will be knowledgeable or sympathetic;
- they feel they may not be taken seriously;
- they are worried about confidentiality;
- they are worried about being seen to be less able to do their job.
The Employee Relations team are available for staff to contact to have an initial conversation and they will advise on an approach to support with an individual’s personal circumstance and suggest a way forward.
They are able to signpost staff to our existing policies and procedures which employees may find useful to discuss with their line manager to assist them with managing their symptoms and working e.g. The Flexible Working Policy and Hybrid Working Policy.
They are able to signpost employees to our Employee Assistance Programme where employees can seek confidential advice and support which is relevant to their circumstances.
How the Employee Relations Team can help managers
The Employee Relations Team deliver several bitesize lunchtime briefing sessions on a range of employee relations matters. A session on “Supporting your staff through their menopause transition” is now available. This course provides managers with an overview of the facts about menopause, outlines management responsibilities for supporting staff, provides guidance for conducting sensitive conversations and also provides a legal context in which managing staff and the menopause should be considered. To find out more contact the Employee Relations Manager for your designated work area, please go to the HR Teams sections of our About Us page.
The team is available to advise managers on a one-to-one basis on how to support staff through well-being matters.
The team can assist managers with management referrals to Occupational Health Works.
The team can provide awareness about University policies, procedures and guides which are useful in supporting staff with their menopausal transition, e.g. The Flexible Working Policy, Hybrid Working Policy, Dignity at Work Policy and our Values and Behaviours Statement.
For staff to experience good mental, emotional and physical health is important to us. Find out how to promote and enhance your wellbeing and that of your colleagues.
Health and Safety Department
The Health and Safety Team can provide managers with recommendation about workplace and environment controls that may be required by a staff member.
Useful Policies and Procedures to assist staff and managers with menopausal symptoms
- Queen Mary’s Menopause Policy Statement - This policy outlines Queen Mary University’s commitment to supporting staff in relation to the menopause.
- The Flexible Working Policy - This policy enables staff to request that their manager considers a change to their contractual working arrangements either a temporary or permanent basis, for example this may be a reduction in hours, alternative starting and finishing times, a change in working pattern.
- The Hybrid Working Policy - This policy enables staff to request that their manager considers more than one location from where a member carries out their day-to-day work and the frequency from which a member of staff can work at their requested locations.
Useful menopause conversation guides
You may find the guides/tips listed on the Guidance and Resources page useful in supporting conversations with:
Your line manager
Your General Practitioner
Your staff member
Menopause webinar resources
A copy of all the presentation slides or summary fact sheets of the key presentation themes from the webinars held during the month of October 2023, will be available to staff on the Guidance and Resources page. These resources will be uploaded shortly after each of the presentations.
Menopause Surveys – For Staff and Managers
We want to ensure that support for staff and those staff who have management responsibilities is reflective of the needs of our community. We have therefore devised two voluntary surveys which can be found on our Surveys page. The survey results will enable HR to assess:
- The level of support that staff are currently receiving
- The level of support that may be required
- The type of support that would be useful for staff
- Management awareness about the menopause and the symptoms
- Management awareness of how symptoms may impact staff at work and their performance
- Knowledge of how to assist staff with managing menopausal symptoms at work
All responses will be anonymous and we have no way of linking responses to any individual.
The information provided will be stored confidentially and will only be used for the purposes of understanding our community’s needs to enhance the support that is already provided at the University in relation menopause support
The University’s Future Support Ambitions
Online Menopause Awareness Training
Exploration is currently taking place into developing a menopause awareness online training tool. This page will be update as progression continues.
Creation of a Menopause Network
The aim is to have a group of volunteers who are interested in championing menopause awareness across the University. In creating this network, the group would be progressing the University’s mission to create a truly inclusive environment as expressed in the University’s People, Culture and Inclusion Enabling Plan.
The volunteers would initially be involved in deciding on the parameters of the aims of the network however organising events and running workshops to raise awareness within our community would be an expectation.
If you are interested helping to set up and develop a menopause network at the University, please email: email@example.com
The aim is to have a pool of voluntary menopause champions from across all areas of the University to:
- be an initial point of contact for employees to talk to if they are not comfortable talking to their managers.
- signpost employees to where they can seek further support, help and advice within the University.
- liaise closely with the menopause network.
If you are interested in becoming a menopause champion, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Menopause Survey Results
The results of the surveys will provide useful insights into the future development of the University’s menopause support and resources for staff and those staff with management responsibilities.
External Menopause Support
Listed below are a range of organisations who provide menopause information and support which staff may find useful:
- Healthtalk.org has a large resource on working and menopause and also accounts of Women's personal experiences of the menopause
- NHS guidance on menopause
- Women’s Health Concern (patient arm of the British Menopause Society)
- Daisy Network – Support for Premature Menopause
- Henpicked – Menopause in the Workplace
- Menopause Café – ‘Gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss menopause’
- The Menopause Exchange – Providing Independent advice about the menopause, midlife and post-menopausal health
- Menopause Matters
- Gendered Intelligence
- Queer/LGBTQIA+ Menopause