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Menopause in 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, which was followed by a House of Commons Committee report by the Women and Equalities Committee, with recommendations to government, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has this month released a report on Menopause following their detailed inquiry into the current policy and wider landscape around menopause in the UK. It is separate to the much narrower report mentioned above by the Women and Equalities Committee which only considered the issue of menopause discrimination in the workplace.

The report suggests that “despite the fact that 51% of the population will experience the menopause, the entrenched taboo around women’s health issues, at times underpinned by sexism and ageism, has meant that the support for the 13 million women currently going through peri-menopause or menopause is completely inadequate”.

Specifically addressing menopause in the workplace, the inquiry concluded that ‘While many companies shared best practices examples of the support given to their employees, the fact remains that a majority of employers do not consider menopause a proper health condition and do not have policies in place to support staff going through it. There is a role for both Government and employers to play to work together to drive forward this change.’

The suggestions specific to menopause in the workplace were:

The Government must co-ordinate and support an employer-led campaign to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace and to help tackle the taboo surrounding menopause and work. This campaign must promote the importance of supporting employees through the menopause transition as a core employee health issue, and promote the business case for investing in employee support.

The Government must update and promote guidance for employers on best practice menopause at work policies and supporting interventions. This should include the economic justification and productivity benefits of doing so and be tailored to organisations of different sizes and resources to ensure it is as effective as possible.  

The inquiry goes on to suggest that menopause should be treated as a “core employee health issue” and that the business case for investing in employee support should be promoted.

There is still discussion as to whether or not the menopause should be added as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 but this is not a topic that is going away and businesses would be advised to start considering what policies and procedures are in place to protect those who will or who are experiencing the menopause.

Posted on 4 November, 2022 by Ortolan

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