Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Regulator provides advice for employers on menopause and the Equality Act

New guidance on menopause in the workplace, setting out employer’s legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010, was issued yesterday by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Many women report experiencing negative impacts of menopausal symptoms in the workplace, with some even feeling compelled to leave their jobs as a result.

Research shows that one in ten women surveyed who have worked during the menopause have left their jobs due to symptoms, while two thirds of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms said they have had a mostly negative impact on them at work. However, very few workers request workplace adjustments during this time, often citing concerns about potential reactions.

As the number of women experiencing menopause while in employment increases, it is essential that employers know how to support workers experiencing menopause symptoms. Not only does this ensure they meet their legal responsibilities, but also that women in this group are able to continue to contribute to the workplace and benefit from work.

The new guidance from the EHRC aims to clarify these legal obligations and provide practical tips for employers on making reasonable adjustments and fostering positive conversations about the menopause with their workers.  

If menopause symptoms have a long term and substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, they may be considered a disability. Under the Equality Act 2010, an employer will be under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments and to not discriminate against the worker.

Additionally, workers experiencing menopause symptoms may be protected from less favourable treatment related to their menopause symptoms on the grounds of age and sex.

Employers are encouraged to carefully consider the guidance now available from the EHRC website and adapt their policies and practices accordingly, to ensure fairness and inclusivity in the workplace. 

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: 

“As Britain’s equality watchdog, we are concerned both by how many women report being forced out of a role due to their menopause-related symptoms and how many don’t feel safe enough to request the workplace adjustments. 

“An employer understanding their legal duties is the foundation of equality in the workplace. But it is clear that many may not fully understand their responsibility to protect their staff going through the menopause. Our new guidance sets out these legal obligations for employers and provides advice on how they can best support their staff.  

“We hope that this guidance helps ensure every woman going through the menopause is treated fairly and can work in a supportive and safe environment.”  

Notes to Editors

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ‘Guidance on the Equality Act and the menopause’ is available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission is also supporting an alleged case of menopause discrimination, currently awaiting judgment from the employment tribunal in Leicester.
  • Research on ‘Menopause and the Workplace’, published in 2022 by the Fawcett Society, found that one in ten women surveyed who worked during the menopause have left their jobs due to symptoms.
  • Research on ‘Menopause in the workplace’, published in October 2023 by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, found that two thirds of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms said they have had a mostly negative impact on them at work.
  • Results from a survey of Menopause and the workplace, published in February 2022 by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, found that only 12 per cent of respondents sought any workplace adjustments, while over a quarter who did not seek any adjustments said the reason was ‘I was worried about the reaction.'
Channel website: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en

Original article link: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/media-centre/news/regulator-provides-advice-employers-menopause-and-equality-act

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