Menopause and the workplace: a Menopause Employment Champion on the horizon

The Government has now published its response to the July 2022 report ‘Menopause and the workplace’ produced by the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC). Whilst some of the recommendations have been accepted, in full or in part, two of the key recommendations have been rejected. Overall, however, the response acknowledges the significance of the topic.

Menopause employment champion

One of the more significant recommendations the Government accepts in principle is the WEC’s recommendation of appointing a Menopause Employment Champion. Their key role will be to ‘give voice to menopausal women, promote their economic contributions and work with employers to keep people experiencing menopause symptoms in work and progressing’.

Rejected Recommendations

The Government rejected the WEC’s recommendation to produce a model menopause leave policy. The Government was of the view that a model policy is not necessary at the moment given that other organisations such as the CIPD and ACAS have already produced guidance on best practice for employers.

It has also rejected the recommendation to consult on making menopause a protected characteristic noting that the protected characteristics of sex, age and disability already provide protection against any discriminatory treatment against employees going through menopause. Additionally, the Government pointed out that making menopause a protected characteristic may inadvertently create new forms of discrimination, for example, discrimination risks towards men suffering from long-term medical conditions (…)’. Finally, the Government ruled out the recommendation of enacting s.14 EqA 2010 which would recognise ‘combined discrimination’ or ‘dual characteristics’, in this instance by implementing sex and age as a single characteristic to protect women going through menopause.

Comment

Although some were hoping for a ‘radical’ change the Government’s response does not deliver on that, but the response is perhaps not surprising given that it previously confirmed that it had no intention to make menopause a protected characteristic. The response does not give a timeframe as to the appointment of the Menopause Employment Champion. As such it is important that employers are well prepared in the interim by considering internal measures, they can put in place to ensure that menopausal employees are supported.

For the full response, click here.

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