World Menopause Month

October is designated by the World Health Organisation as World Menopause Awareness Month “to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing” - with 18 October specifically assigned as World Menopause Awareness Day.

The importance of raising awareness is evident. We have written before that menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce (see the Government Report on Menopause here) and CIPD report that 59% of working women between 45 and 55 say menopausal symptoms have a negative impact on them at work. It is vital that employers understand the potential impact of the menopause on their workforce and have policies and procedures in place to assist employees who are affected.

ACAS has produced guidance to assist employers with managing the menopause at work, including helping to:

  • Develop a menopause policy that explains how the menopause can affect people differently and what support is available;
  • Provide awareness training for managers including how to deal with the subject sensitively and fairly; and
  • Consider making practical changes at work to help staff manage their symptoms such as the availability of cold drinking water and temperature control.

Employers will also wish to watch the outcome of a case being heard by Leicester Employment Tribunal this week. Maria Rooney’s action against Leicester City Council was the first tribunal case to consider the symptoms as a disability - The ET ruled in February 2022 that Ms Rooney’s disability was by virtue of her symptoms of menopause combined with symptoms of stress and anxiety. The claim currently being heard is that Rooney was “discriminated against, harassed and victimised by Leicester City Council on the grounds of disability and sex”. 

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission who is supporting Ms Rooney in bringing the claim said: “Menopause symptoms can significantly affect someone’s ability to work. Employers have a responsibility to support employees going through the menopause – it is to their benefit to do so, and the benefit of the wider workforce. Every employer should take note of this hearing”.

Posted on 10/05/2023 by Ortolan

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