World Menopause Day – some questions for employers
18 October 2023 is World Menopause Day, here are some questions for employers to consider:
Do you have a menopause-friendly culture and policy that supports employee’s health and wellbeing?
In 2022, the Menopause and Workplace report by the Fawcett Society and Channel 4 reported that 44% of women of the 4,000 women surveyed aged 45 – 55 said their ability to work had been affected by the menopause and 10 per cent had left their job because of symptoms of the menopause. Many of those departures might have been avoided if employers had a different culture in place.
Do you risk-assess and provide adjustments and flexible working options?
Health and Safety risk assessments should factor in employees going through the menopause transition. The ACAS guidance in this area suggests that a risk assessment that factors in the menopause could include:
- The temperature and ventilation of the workplace.
- The material and fit of uniforms.
- Whether there is a suitable place for staff to rest.
- Accessibility of toilet facilities.
- Availability of cold drinking water.
Are managers and staff trained to raise awareness and educate them about the menopause and its impact on work performance and attendance?
ACAS mention training as a factor in a risk assessment and recommends that all managers, supervisors and team leaders should be trained in understanding:
- How the law relates to menopause.
- How to talk with and encourage staff to raise any menopause concerns.
- How different stages and types of menopause can affect staff.
- What support and workplace changes are available to staff.
- How to deal with menopause issues sensitively and fairly.
- How gender identity links to the menopause and why it’s important.
Are you aware of the legal risks?
In 2022, the Government indicated that it would not be proposing to add menopause to the list of protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. However, employees experiencing menopause symptoms have brought claims in the Employment Tribunal for discrimination on grounds of age, sex and disability, as well as claims for unfair dismissal. Employers face significant legal risks if they ignore the needs of those experiencing menopause.
Do you have a Menopause or Wellbeing champion?
It is worth considering having a champion who can co-ordinate initiatives related to the menopause and to provide a point of contact for staff if they are not comfortable talking to managers.
The menopause is a natural and normal part of life that affects millions of people in the UK. It can have a significant impact on their health, well-being, productivity and career prospects. Employers who recognise and respect this fact can create a positive and inclusive work environment for their staff, and reap the benefits of their loyalty, experience and contribution.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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