5 Tips on How to Ask Your Boss for Menopause Leave - Women's Health

5 Tips on How to Ask Your Boss for Menopause Leave

And yes, you have the right to ask for it.

By Natasha Andreadis, Women’s Health Expert and Reproduction Educator

The menopause and perimenopause stage of life begins when a woman’s reproductive hormone production begins to change, marking a significant new milestone in her health journey. While menopause begins somewhere between 45-60 years for most women, and this time is when symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, are heightened,  for 1 percent of women the dreaded change comes much earlier—before age 40.

Menopause symptoms may also have an impact upon a woman’s career and professional life. New research by integrated women’s healthcare brand Flordis Femular® has found that 1 in 5 (18%) Australian women have had to adjust their work life to deal with the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, sweating, sleeplessness, mood swings, irritability, mild anxiety and joint pain. 

Furthermore, the research also found that 4 out of 10 women needed to take extra time off work to cope with the symptoms and nearly two thirds required additional doctor’s appointments within work hours.

However, despite the significant number of women needing to adjust their work lives to cope with menopause, almost half of the women surveyed (46%) reported that they did not feel comfortable speaking openly to their manager or colleagues about their menopause symptoms.

As women, it is important for our health and wellbeing, as well as our professional careers, that we feel confident to discuss the impacts of our menopause symptoms openly, whether that be to a healthcare practitioner, a loved one, or our managers and co-workers. 

If you’re finding dealing with menopause symptoms in the workplace a challenging experience, here are 5 tips on how to ask your boss for extra menopause leave:

1. Be honest and upfront from the get-go

Don’t try to hide your symptoms or feel pressure to sweep your experiences under the rug. If you’re honest and upfront from the get-go about how you’re feeling, then you and your manager or co-workers can start the discussion on the same page.  Remember, you don’t need to go into specific detail about your symptoms, but at least providing an indication of the changes you’re experiencing will be helpful in guiding conversations with your team. 

2. Don’t feel embarrassed

Due to the ongoing stigma that still surrounds menopause, many women may unfortunately feel too embarrassed to ask for menopause leave. Menopause is a natural, transitional stage of life, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to take the appropriate steps to look after your health and wellbeing. If you fear your male colleagues or boss won’t be as understanding, it is recommended that you educate them as much as possible about this stage in life, without needing to go into specifics about your own experiences.  

3. Seek out credible resources

When it comes to educating the people around you in the workplace about menopause, a great place to start is by providing them with credible resources that will educate them about this life stage. There is lots of information floating around online and in the media about menopause. If you’re finding it difficult to explain what you’re going through to those around you, seek out credible, well-researched resources by doctors and healthcare practitioners, that can give you the information you need to make well-informed choices and help communicate effectively with your team.  

4. Ask for a letter of support from you GP or healthcare practitioner

If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of menopause, you may want to visit a healthcare practitioner for advice and possible treatment pathways. A GP may also be able to help you determine whether you need to ask to ask your employer for extra menopause leave, and they may provide you with a letter of support.  

5.  Know that you don’t have ‘put up’ with symptoms in silence

Many women might be under the impression that they just need to ‘put up’ with their menopause symptoms in the workplace, or seek out unnecessary treatment options. The truth is, there are several options available to women to help relieve menopause symptoms in the workplace, including a naturally-derived extract Ze-450. A clinically researched extract of the plant Actaea racemosa, these types of natural extracts can help relieve menopause symptoms that can be quite bothersome both in and outside the work environment. Know that you can get relief from your symptoms, and don’t need to sweat it in silence. Inform your team along the way and ask for their support in adjusting the work environment to be as menopause-friendly as possible. 

If you’re wondering what the best options for you might be, you may wish to consider seeking advice from a doctor or healthcare practitioner.

Menopause is a natural, transitional stage in women’s lives. However, it may also be a challenging experience for many women which impacts upon their health, wellbeing, and professional careers. It is important that we feel empowered and well-informed to speak about our menopause symptoms openly and make looking after our health and wellbeing a priority.

If you would like to learn more about menopause, visit: https://www.flordis.com.au/health-insights/menopause/ 

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