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Menopause and HRT: What you need to know

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Did you know that around 80% of women with menopause will experience symptoms such as hot flushes, sleeping problems and mood changes! This has a drastic effect on their day to day lives and can last four years on average (although many women say they have had symptoms for a lot longer).

The way in which a lot of women cope with the menopause is with HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT helps around one million people in the UK and the current shortages throughout to country are placing some women in difficult positions.

1 in 10 women are said to be leaving their jobs due to menopause symptoms and as women make up 47% of the workforce, this could lead to a real problem within the working world.

So, what can we do to support working women and make this challenging time as easy as we can?

HR:4UK are here to answer all your questions and explain how employers can navigate these tricky times via the use of our menopause policy.

What is the Menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of aging whereby a woman stops having menstrual cycles. Menopause can be triggered naturally, through surgery which occurs after an oophorectomy (the removal of ovaries).

Within the UK, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51, however, it can start as early as mid-30s to as late as mid-50s. 1 in 100 women however experience premature menopause which occurs before the age of 40.

What is HRT?

HRT also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy replaces estrogen and progesterone hormones when the ovaries have stopped producing them. It is used as a treatment for some people with symptoms of the menopause.

Why is there a shortage?

The shortage of the hormone replacement therapy products is said to be due to manufacturing and supply issues caused by COVID-19.

The shortages are affecting Oestogel, this is created by a company called Besins Healthcare UK. Besins are reporting insufficient supplies due to the increased demand of HRT in the UK. In the last five years, the number of prescriptions filled out for HRT has doubled to more than 500,000 prescriptions a month.

Unfortunately, this is leading to women ‘sharing’ medication and women driving for hours to share their last pack – which the government strongly advises against.

How HR:4UK can help?

At HR:4UK we personally care about empowering and protecting businesses and their people which is why we are offering our Menopause policy at a reduced rate of £175+ VAT to help our clients and their employees.

Research has shown that only 3% of workplaces have policies in place and as menopausal women are the fastest growing workplace demographic and absenteeism is costing companies over £7.2 million annually, you need to make sure you have a policy in place sooner rather than later.

Let’s work together to build better conversations around the menopause and how employers can ensure the right support is provided.

Key points for employers

Employers need to be supportive and thoughtful to those who are impacted during the HRT and shortage. Currently 84% of working women say their employer did not offer any support and therefore it is no shock women are worried about the impact this time will have on their working life.

We are actively encouraging all employers to be proactively supporting those affected by considering changes such as short-term working adjustments.  These working adjustments could be as simple as flexibility around the working day for workers to visit their GP or pharmacies, this flexibility is bound to not only help alleviate their symptoms but lower stress levels as well.

Last but not least try to offer information around the menopause that can give guidance on symptoms and how to deal with them.  

Let’s hope the HRT shortage will be short term, but it does bring to light the need for employers to take menopause and perimenopause seriously and deal with it sensitively, encouraging an environment where women can discuss what support or adjustments they may need without fear of judgement or reprisals. Let’s support our working women and hope this shortage is only temporary.

Contact us today on 01455 444222 or email to learn more about or Menopause policy and how we can help you through these trying times.

Background links: 

Five free resources to help your organisation support peri-menopausal and menopausal staff – Lexology

HRT availability: What you need to know about access to treatment (thecourier.co.uk)

Javid to appoint an HRT tsar to fight shortage of medicine that helps ease menopause symptoms | Daily Mail Online

HRT shortage: working adjustments should be considered by employers (personneltoday.com)

Employers need to support employees impacted by HRT shortage | theHRD (thehrdirector.com)

Menopause : Staff wellbeing : … : Human Resources : University of Sussex

HRT: Menopausal women are having to take days off work in ‘gold rush’ for drugs | Daily Mail Online

Women in uncertain challenging waters with HRT shortage (yorkshirebusinesswoman.co.uk)

Amanda Lennon: Could the HRT shortage lead to discrimination claims? – Employee Benefits

What is HRT? How the menopause treatment works and why there’s a shortage of gels and patches in the UK (inews.co.uk)

Angela Clay

A qualified employment law solicitor and our managing director, Angela has unparalleled legal expertise and decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. She’s a passionate speaker and writer that loves to keep employers updated with upcoming changes to legislation, and is a regular guest speaker on BBC Leicester Radio.

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