Menopause and the Workplace – An Update
In August we reported that the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee had published a report at the end of July 2022, making various recommendations, perhaps most notably calling for consultation on making menopause a protected characteristic, thus providing specific protection from discrimination and imposing a duty to make reasonable adjustments for menopausal employees.
Since then there have been 2 developments.
First ACAS has reported the outcome of a survey it commissioned. The survey asked British businesses how well equipped they felt their workplaces were to support such women.
The responses indicated that 1/3 of businesses considered that they were either not well equipped or not equipped at all. Notably, 21% of businesses responded that they did not know. Less than half of businesses indicated that they felt that they were very or fairly well equipped. Similarly, in relation to confidence in managers having skills to support such women, 37% responded that they were either not very or not at all confident and 17% responded that they did not know.
ACAS consequently advised employers to develop a menopause policy explaining how the menopause can affect people and what support is available; provide awareness training for managers; and, consider making changes at work to help staff manage their symptoms.
Secondly, in October 2022 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Menopause published a report. That report noted that as the menopause is not a protected characteristic, employers may easily overlook their obligations and those who suffer discrimination may be uncertain as to whether that they have any redress.
The report recommends that the government should: coordinate and support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness, promoting the importance of supporting employees as a core employee health issue and promote the business case for employee support. It should update and promote guidance on best practice policies.
We will continue to endeavour to keep you informed of any developments.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.