Menopause and the workplace

Following on from our article about the Menopause Workplace Pledge, in which at the time of writing more than 600 companies had signed up to, the Women and Equalities Committee have now released a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond. 

The report emphasises that the menopause is a “a normal, natural, and inevitable part of ageing” which 51% of the population will experience. The report finds that “ women of menopausal age are the fastest growing group in the workforce and are staying in work for longer than ever before. Yet these experienced and skilled role models often receive little support with menopause symptoms”.

4.5 million women aged 50-64 are currently in employment and statistically those suffering at least one symptom are nearly 50% more likely to leave their job because of lack of support.

With no current laws to protect those suffering from menopausal symptoms, the WEC chair, Caroline Nokes MP has said: "The omission of menopause as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 is no longer tenable, given that 51% of the population will experience menopause. We were shocked to hear that many women must demonstrate their menopausal symptoms amounting to a disability in order to get redress. Our Committee is calling on the Government to make menopause a protected characteristic in its own right"

The report also calls on the Government to “commence section 14 of the Equality Act 2010 to allow dual discrimination claims based on more than one protected characteristic”.

It would be advisable for employers and businesses to consider their own policies and practices as well as identify training opportunities and the workplace set up. 

Consideration could also be given to a recent study carried out by GenM that identified that “only 1 in 5 women believe their employer is well informed about the menopause” and “88% of women going through the menopause said that workplaces being set up to better support menopausal women would be a benefit”. 

Posted on 8 September, 2022 by Ortolan

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