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The issue of menopause in the workplace is being widely discussed in the media at the moment. British Employment Tribunals have recently confirmed that claims referencing menopause have risen 44% year on year, and only last week the UK Civil Service joined over 1000 businesses and organisations in signing the Menopause Workplace Pledge.
With more and more businesses taking action to make their workplaces more menopause friendly, employees and prospective employees will inevitably be expecting their own workplaces to follow suit.
In this article, we explore the benefits of having a menopause policy and explain key health and safety and employment law factors for employers to consider.
Menopause normally happens between the ages of 45-55 but it can also affect individuals at a younger or later age. Symptoms can vary and often include physical, psychological and emotional symptoms. The most common symptoms are hot flushes, sleep disturbance, mood changes, poor concentration, headaches, muscle/joint pains, depression and anxiety.
There is currently no legal requirement to have a Menopause Policy in your business but in light of the recent statistics regarding tribunal claims referencing menopause, and that menopause is likely to affect a significant portion of your employees, we recommend that all organisations adopt a menopause policy.
Having a clear and consistent Menopause Policy that helps you identify symptoms of menopause and ensure the affected employees are appropriately supported will undoubtedly be beneficial to your business and your employees. Not only is it likely to reduce risks of claims but it is also likely to improve the working environment and enhance staff retention and productivity when issues caused by menopause are properly addressed. Businesses also have duties under health and safety legislation to assess and consider specific requirements of employees affected by menopause symptoms.
It is important to ensure that menopausal symptoms are not made worse by workplace conditions; therefore, it may be necessary for a business to make changes to help employees manage their symptoms. This could involve conducting a risk assessment and follow-up actions including:
Menopause can be linked to claims for discrimination at work on the grounds of sex, disability or age. The best ways ensure you are mitigating the risk of claims are:
Menopause is an inevitability for half of the population and therefore it is important that your business takes appropriate measures to ensure the wellbeing and safety of employees affected by menopause. If you need any further advice on this topic or would like help in drafting a Menopause Policy please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Team.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor.
Keen to find out more? Listen to our podcast on workplace menopause policies here.