Information for employees

It is important to remember that your employer has a responsibility to make sure that your workplace is safe and ​​inclusive. This can look different for each employee, depending on their individual needs and requirements.  

It is not always easy speaking to employers about personal things, such as if you have​,​ or suspect​ that you have​ endometriosis, and how the symptoms affect you at work. Informing yourself on workplace processes can help in preparing and having these conversations. See below for our ​top tips and things to consider on this.

Reasonable adjustments

Many people with endometriosis would not consider themselves disabled. In some cases, this is because their symptoms are managed and therefore do not have a negative impact on their lives. Other times, this is because disability is misunderstood in society. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding of disability can sometimes prevent endometriosis patients getting the help they need.

An example of this can be seen in the workplace. For instance, endometriosis patients and their employers may not be aware of how reasonable adjustments in the workplace can help staff experiencing endometriosis symptoms to better manage their work and health.  

For more information on the definition of disability visit our page on endometriosis and disability

Employers have a legal responsibility to make ​‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled workers aren’t substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs in comparison with ​​people who are not disabled. This applies to all workers, including trainees, apprentices, contract workers and some business partners.

There are a number of adjustments an employer might consider, but reasonable adjustments should be tailored to your specific case. The sorts of reasonable adjustments employees with endometriosis might typically request include:

  • Can I move my desk closer to the toilet?  
  • Could I take shorter more frequent breaks to take medication or change period products?
  • Is working from home possible?
  • Could I have a phased return to work – working shorter hours or fewer days to begin with?

Top tips for ​employees

  • If you are worried about talking about symptoms, take an information leaflet with you so you can point to it and say you’d like them to have a read and discuss it with you.
  • Consider taking a friend, colleague, or advocate to come with you to the meeting.
  • Choose a time and place where an employee and manager can have a conversation without being interrupted.
  • Find out if the company have a Human Resources (HR) department that could help  
  • Find out if the company offer access to occupational health and therapy for support
  • Learn about the workplace policy for requesting reasonable adjustments
  • Read and follow the policy, for example, put the request in writing if that is what the policy requires
  • Consider scheduling a follow-up chat to see how the reasonable adjustments are working (or not)
  • Discuss whether regular wellbeing catch-ups with line-managers are possible or needed, particularly if on a phased return to work after a long period of sickness absence.

Further advice and support on workplace issues

  • Acas gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice and offer training and help to resolve disputes

  • Citizens Advice can help you to find out more about your rights and how to solve problems

  • If you are part of a Union, they will provide you with information, support and representation at meetings with your employer, should you need it

  • Support services like Occupational Health which is the work service in an organisation that helps with the prevention and treatment of job-related injuries and illnesses and often with reasonable adjustments and workplace accommodations

  • The British Standards Institution (BSI) has issued a guide (2024) called “Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace. The aim of this guidance is to give employers practical advice to help them create spaces that are more supportive of employees experiencing problems linked to menstruation, menstrual health and menopause. It’s worth noting that endometriosis is usually considered a menstrual health condition, even if symptoms are wider ranging. The guidance has been created with employees and patients, some living in Wales, and it is now being used in many Welsh businesses and workplaces

  • Endometriosis UK has developed an Endometriosis Friendly Employer Scheme to assist employers in creating a more inclusive work environment for people with endometriosis. Welsh Government, HSBC, Admiral Insurance, and M&S Bank are all endometriosis friendly employers, including many more!  

This information is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this website, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author or NHS Wales. In addition providing links to other sites does not indicate approval, endorsement or guarantee the correctness of the information available on these sites.