Menopause and the Workplace
The Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry into workplace issues surrounding the menopause, which will examine existing discrimination legislation and workplace practices, to consider whether more needs to be done to prevent women from leaving their jobs as a result of menopause discrimination and/or suffering because they are experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Some women can go through the menopause with few symptoms and little impact on their work life. However, others can experience symptoms lasting several years or symptoms so severe, that they affect performance and attendance at work.
Menopause discrimination is currently covered by three protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: age, sex and disability, but otherwise, women are not allowed any specific time off just because they are experiencing difficult symptoms, going through the menopause.
The inquiry will look into how menopause in the workplace is best managed and whether further legislation is required to protect women experiencing the menopause.
We are still waiting to hear the outcome to this inquiry, but in the meantime, employers should consider how best to support women going through the menopause, how to promote an age and gender inclusive workplace, how to protect women from discrimination and whether to implement a menopause policy. This may include making reasonable adjustments for women going through the menopause, reviewing existing policies and speaking with the senior leadership team and managers to make sure that they are aware of it.
If you require further advice on this matter, or draft policies, please contact the employment team and listen to our webinar recording that took place on 10 November 2021 to keep up to date with other employment law developments.