What is the U.S. Policy on Menopause in the Workplace? - Ellen Dolgen

What is the U.S. Policy on Menopause in the Workplace?

According to the National Institute of Aging, “More than 1 million women in the United States experience menopause each year.

Many women deal with perimenopause for 2-10 years before menopause. There are over 30+ symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. (Download my free Menopause Mondays Symptoms Chart.)

These symptoms can start as early as 35 years old.  According to the American Congress of OB-GYN, 6,000 women reach menopause daily.

The SWAN study has pointed out the ethnic and racial disparities in how this transition affects a women’s overall health. Such as:

  • During the menopausal transition, Black women experienced more and earlier arterial stiffness than white women.
  • Cardiovascular disease risk factor status at midlife was higher in Black and Hispanic women compared with white and Chinese women.
  • In late midlife, some racial and ethnic groups were more likely to have changes in blood vessel health, such as thicker arterial walls in Black women, narrower blood vessels in all but Chinese women, and more arterial plaque in white women.

Guess what country is leading in helping women with their menopausal transition in the workplace?  No, it is not the US.  It is the UK!   Bravo to the UK for stepping up and recognizing women’s health as a priority. They have created an entire program around women’s health in the workplace.

How does menopause affect you at work, both at home and in the office? Here are some of the most common symptoms women mention:

  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Lack concentration
  • An increased lack of confidence
  • Anxiety

Here are the recommendations from the Joint Position Statement of the British Menopause Society, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists,  The Royal College of Physicians, The Financial Stability Report, the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, and The Faculty of Public Health

  1. Employers should ensure that policies are in place to help employees experiencing menopause-related symptoms and support them during their menopause transition.
  2. Women should be encouraged to seek help for managing their menopausal symptoms and should be made aware of resources available for guidance. Information should also be provided to women on how they can access menopause advice and make an informed decision on their management options.
  3. Employers should have defined pathways in place, such as online training for employers and educational webinars on menopause. This should be offered to managers, supervisors, and team leaders. Employers should also include working flexibly (where possible) and adjustments to the workplace environment as part of such pathways.
  4. There is also a need for such processes to be rolled out nationally and included in local service policies.
  5. The incorporation of menopause support in workplace culture, policies, and training should be in accordance with all legislative requirements, in particular the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Equality Act 2010.
  6. Both individual and organizational level interventions are therefore recommended to meet the needs of working menopausal women.

Here in the U.S., we have The Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The OWH was established in 1991 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). OWH coordinates women’s health efforts across HHS and addresses critical women’s health issues by informing and advancing policies, educating healthcare professionals and consumers, and supporting innovative programs.  I looked on their website and saw no specific reference to menopause in the workplace.

On September 6, 2022, two House lawmakers, Reps. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and David McKinley, R- W. VA brought a bill asking for bipartisan support to bolster the federal medical research agency’s ability to research menopause and mid-life women’s health.  The bill was called the Menopause Research Act H.R. 8774.

“Every day, millions of working-aged women deal with menopause-related symptoms that take a toll on their families, disrupt their lives, careers, mental health, and so much more,” Axne said. “Yet, there’s not enough information regarding symptom management and treatment to help prevent these disruptions and ensure women can make good, informed decisions for themselves.”

It is reported that Axne and McKinley’s bill would have required the director of the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the current state of menopause research (including any gaps) relating to causes, symptoms, and treatments, as well as research on mid-life women’s health. The evaluation would also have included the total amount of funding NIH has allocated for menopause and mid-life women’s health research for the previous five years.

NIH would have been required to submit a report within 180 days of the bill’s enactment. The bill also would have required NIH to develop a strategic plan to close research gaps and identify topics that need more research within 180 days.

Although the bill went nowhere and neither Reps, Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and David McKinley got re-elected, I want to thank them for submitting this proposed legislation.

Does the U.S. have an official policy for menopause in the workplace like the U.K.? I cannot find it.

Remember My Moto:  Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN.

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*EllenDolgen.com does not recommend, endorse, or make any representation about any tests, studies, practices, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, healthcare providers, physicians, or medical institutions that may be mentioned or referenced.

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