Employers are taking meaningful steps to provide menopause benefits 

Employers are taking meaningful steps to provide menopause benefits
October 19, 2023

World Menopause Day was established to recognize the unique challenges that women, as well as  some trans and non-binary individuals, face during this stage of life. Menopause is a natural biological process caused by a decline in estrogen levels that marks the end of menstrual cycles, bringing with it a range of physical and emotional symptoms that can impact daily life. Unfortunately, many people feel unsupported and stigmatized during this time, particularly in the workplace.

During menopause, 85% of women report experiencing symptoms that vary in nature and severity. Research shows that Native American and Black women experience the most frequent and bothersome hot flashes compared to any other group. Additionally, many individuals also report symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety, which can significantly impact a person’s well-being during an already fraught transition period for their body.

The prevalence and impact of symptoms, coupled with recent data from Mercer's research, highlights the growing need for more specialized menopause benefits in the workplace. Mercer's 2023 Health on Demand survey of more than 2,000 US workers found that over half considered menopause support benefits to be valuable. Gen X women, the employee group most impacted by this biological process, who are often nearing the peak of their professional careers just as menopause symptoms begin, were the most likely to see value in supportive benefits (62%).  

Employers are responding to increased awareness and demand by adding different forms of menopause support. The percentage of large organizations (500 or more employees) that offered or planned to offer a specialized menopause benefit jumped from just 4% in a survey conducted in 2022 to 15% in a survey conducted this year. This rise in prevalence has been facilitated by new offerings in the market -- about 14 digital solution vendors have launched menopause capabilities in the U.S. in the last 12 months or so.

Supporting perimenopausal and menopausal employees in the workplace is consequential – and deploying strategies that are inclusive and appropriately address the specific needs of women of color, trans, and non-binary individuals will have a greater impact on employees’ holistic well-being. Employers can take several steps to support their workforce by:

  • Reviewing organizational support policies. Consider easing dress code policies for those experiencing hot flashes. To give employees more flexibility as they navigate menopausal symptoms, you could allow telecommuting or offer paid leave.
  • Ensuring clinical support is available. Review medical plans for access to providers that have additional training as a menopause specialist, since many PCPs and OB/GYNs are not well versed in menopause treatment. Check your network for PCPs and OB/GYNs who have obtained a deeper level of clinical expertise by obtaining a Certified Menopause Specialist training. Today, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for perimenopause symptoms is considered relatively safe and beneficial. Having access to a knowledgeable provider to discuss HRT, along with enhanced prescription coverage for HRT and other prescription or OTC creams and ointments for symptom relief, can be of significant value. Employers may also want to consider point solutions that specifically address the needs of employees experiencing perimenopause and menopause.
  • Reducing stigma and fostering a supportive work culture. Educate managers and employees about menopause and its potential impact on employee well-being and work performance.

This World Menopause Day is an important reminder of the need to support all employees experiencing menopausal symptoms. Employers should continue to take meaningful steps towards providing specialized menopause benefits and support to their employees, reducing stigma, and improving the overall well-being of employees in the workplace. By centering on the specific needs of employees in this life stage, we can create more inclusive workplaces for all.

About the author(s)
Christy Ewing
Corina Leu
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