Menopause and work: An overview of UK guidance
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Background: Recent evidence suggests that some women experience menopausal symptoms that impact on their working lives, and that work environments can impact upon the experience of menopause. As a result, guidance for employers and other key stakeholders about this potential occupational health issue has emerged. To date there has not been a review of these documents to identify their main recommendations for policy and practice. Aims: To provide a narrative overview of such guidance and summary of content. Methods: Documents published in the UK and available in a major UK trade union library were searched systematically to identify guidance on the topic of menopause and work. An inductive thematic analysis was performed to identify the main themes addressed. Results: Twenty-five relevant documents, on average eight pages long, were identified. A minority indicated that the use of scientific evidence informed the content. Five overarching themes were identified: (i) legislation; (ii) policy; (iii) information and training needs; (iv) workplace support; and (v) the physical work environment. Conclusions: This overview of UK guidance revealed common areas of concern about reducing and managing difficulties experienced by working menopausal women. Possible areas for action were identified. Some recommendations were common across much of the guidance, whereas others were exclusive. Future guidance might include consideration of all these issues, while making reference both to the evidence base and sources of further information.