The 18 October marked World Menopause Day, which aims to help raise awareness of the menopause and support for those going through it. This is an issue which impacts individuals and employers alike. In fact, research by the CIPD, shows that 59% of working women aged between 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it negatively affects them at work.
In addition, the number of employment tribunals where the menopause was referenced rose from five in 2019 to 16 in 2020 and 10 had been heard in the first six months of 2021. This demonstrates that not only is this issue one that needs addressing to help support women in the workplace, but that if not appropriately handled, it could have far reaching consequences.
The menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age but it can also happen earlier or later. For people experiencing symptoms it can be a difficult time, as for some, the physical and mental symptoms can be severe.
If an employee is put at a disadvantage or treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms, this could be discriminatory if connected to a protected characteristic.
So, how can employers ensure they are properly supporting employees going through the menopause?
Some steps to consider include:
- Reviewing working practices and adjusting accordingly
- Training managers to be aware of the symptoms and how these may impact employees
- Developing and implementing a menopause policy
- Carrying out a menopause specific health and safety risk assessment
There is still a degree of secrecy and embarrassment around talking about the menopause, but by showing that they understand the importance of helping employees going through this health issue, employers can encourage a more supportive and inclusive workplace.
Our employment lawyers can advise on developing menopause policies, please get in touch with the team on 01892 510000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.