Endometriosis is a condition that affects around 1.5 million women in the U.K. The condition causes tissue that usually lines the uterus to grow elsewhere in the body. This leads to chronic pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety, and problems with fertility.

It is a condition still underdiagnosed and underrepresented in women’s health. However, more work is being done to increase both awareness of the condition and the quality of care for the women living with it.

Endometriosis affects women on a consistent and chronic basis. This means that every aspect of their life will be impacted by it at some point or another. Therefore, how endometriosis is dealt with and supported within a work environment is very important. As an employee, you need to get the support you need to work comfortably and safely. As an employer, you need to make sure you are doing all you can to allow women with the condition to work in this way too.

On this page of our Disability Advice Hub, we want to help both sides learn more about the condition in the workplace.

Advice for Employees Living With Endometriosis

If you live with endometriosis, it is no surprise that you might have difficulties in finding and keeping a suitable job. The condition is painful and disruptive to everyday life, and work is no exception to this.

Finding the right job will help a lot. It will also help to ask for the support you need in the current job you have. And to know that you are entitled to that support as someone living with a long-term health condition.

Under employment law, employers are required to make “reasonable adjustments” whenever necessary for employees with disabilities and long-term health conditions. If you have endometriosis and you need modifications made at work, it is your legal right that they are made. Whenever possible by the employer. If not financially possible, then support can be given from sources such as the Access to Work scheme.

Some reasonable adjustments that you might consider asking for are:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Remote working (full-time or in a hybrid approach)
  • Reduction of job duties during a symptomatic period
  • Extra equipment such as a comfortable chair
  • Increased breaks and break flexibility
  • Time off to attend doctors appointments and manage pain
  • Access to talking therapy/counselling

It is important that you ask for what you need at work. If you work for a Disability-Friendly and inclusive employer, these kinds of requests shouldn’t be out of the question. They are, in fact, very normal and standard.

Endometriosis isn’t an easy condition to live with and you deserve comfort and safety while working with it.

If you want to find an inclusive and accessible employer, check out our list of handpicked company profiles on Careers with Disabilities.

And if you want to find a new job that will more easily fit into your life, check out our live disability-friendly job board. There you will find jobs posted in an inclusive and diverse way. No one should be excluded based on their health and we want to help make that vision a reality.

Advice for Employers on Working With Endometriosis

It is important to be aware of endometriosis and how it may be affecting your female, non-binary and trans colleagues and employees. Awareness about the condition can help reduce stigma and increase better care.

If we don’t know enough about what our employees are dealing with, we can’t appropriately help them. We might provide help with good intentions, but if it doesn’t match up with what our employees need, it doesn’t make any sense. We can help everyone out by learning more about common conditions.

The following are our recommended steps for employers working with someone with endometriosis:

  • Get educated: The more you can read and learn about endometriosis, the better. Women’s health has often been hidden and tucked away. But this doesn’t help anyone. We need to know more about the condition, what it is like to live with it, and how we can help. Consider bringing in external trainers to your workplace to help everyone learn to the same level.
  • Be more flexible: If you have an employee who is living with endometriosis, they need flexibility. The symptoms can change from week to week and the pain can come in flux. To help employees miss fewer days of work and stay productive instead, be flexible with their hours and how they work whenever you can. Hybrid approaches to remote/in-house working can really help.
  • Allow open discussion: In order for your employees with endometriosis to feel supported, they need to be able to speak to you. If you create a closed and inaccessible culture in the office, nothing can be achieved. Your employees need to feel like they can approach you. If they do, you can work together on the best management plan. It might take a little bit of time before an employee discloses a health condition or disability and that is ok too. It can take time to build a relationship of trust.

Being an inclusive employer to every condition and disability out there isn’t always easy. But it is possible. And it gets more possible every time we learn more and connect more with others. Learning more about endometriosis can help you on your way to becoming a more accessible and Disability-Friendly employer, so we hope you found this page useful.

If you want to learn more about inclusivity, check out more of the pages on Careers with Disabilities. We have lots of information to help you grow into an inclusive and accessible employer. Then, you can work with us as one of the companies endorsed on our site and post inclusive job adverts on our live job board. By doing so, you can access our wide and diverse audience of jobseekers and find lots of talented new members of staff for your business.