Approximately 1.3 million women in the U.S. will enter menopause each year1 and 20% of the workforce are in some phase of menopause transition,2 yet the word “menopause” is rarely uttered, and seldom heard, in workplaces across the country. Often felt to be “too personal” or “taboo,” employees and employers are simply not talking about it. But that’s about to change.
Bank of America, in partnership with the National Menopause Foundation, is championing a broader conversation on menopause in the workplace through groundbreaking research reflecting the perspectives of female employees and male and female HR benefit managers. In an effort to end the silent suffering of women trying to simultaneously manage menopause symptoms, stigma and careers, we are addressing the topic head-on, with the respect and compassion it deserves. Our goal is to ensure a better understanding of menopause, its impact on women in the workforce and what can be done to support them.
Key findings and facts about menopause in the workplace:
- The study reveals a number of disconnects between how employers feel they are supporting their women employees and how well those employees feel supported.
- A positive company culture regarding menopause is cited more than twice as often by employers than employees.
- Most employees and HR benefit managers agree menopause is a life stage rather than a medical issue.
- More than half of women do not feel comfortable discussing menopause in the workplace because it feels too personal.
- There’s a 73-point gap between HR benefit managers (76%) who say they discuss menopause-related issues with employees and female employees (3%) who say they have talked about menopause with HR.
- Half of women say menopause has had at least a slight negative impact on their work life, including the effects of lack of sleep.
- Many employers say they offer menopause-related benefits while only one-third of employees say they are aware of the benefits offered.
- Only 14% of employees say their employers recognize the need for menopause-related benefits, and the primary reason employers don’t offer menopausal benefits is that employees haven’t asked for them.
- The majority of those who have access to menopause-specific benefits say they have had a positive impact on their work in at least one way, mostly by allowing them to bring their best selves to work.
- Women who have access to menopause benefits are significantly more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work as well as the products and services it sells.
This report discusses the following:
- Perceptions of menopause and how they shape workplace culture
- Comfort talking about menopause at work
- Impact of menopause
- Menopause-related workplace benefits
- Actions to consider