It was great to see World Menopause Day 2022 earlier this month attracting so much attention. We’ve really seen this awareness develop in recent years – and rightly so. As an employment law firm it was essential that we were educated too. We’ve worked hard to understand the impact menopause symptoms have on employees, to find workable solutions for employers managing those experiencing workplace difficulties and to provide excellent advice and support for clients who come to us concerned about how their employers have treated them.
Whilst we’ve seen a real improvement in employers understanding of menopause (and its impacts on employees), there remains some way to go before we can say most employers truly ‘get it’.
We continue to see menopause-related allegations and potential claims in the form of disability discrimination, sex and/or age discrimination, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
In our experience, the mistreatment of employees in relation to menopause can be roughly grouped into these 4 categories:
As always, there are some employers really working hard to support menopausal employees but others failing to take such employees concerns seriously – or worse, seeing them as an inconvenience.
There have been two significant reports looking at menopause in the workplace over the last 6 months.
The Government’s Women and Equalities Commission has recommended:
In addition, an All Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause (which looked at a much wider remit including the accessibility of HRT therapies) concluded that:
Beyond tribunal claims, there are so many costs for employers if they lose menopausal employees. With hiring so difficult at the moment, businesses have to think about the costs of replacing these skilled/experienced staff, the loss of productivity if these employees are unsupported together with absence costs – and potentially damage to an employer’s reputation.
It will be interesting to see what the Government does on all these helpful recommendations. There is certainly a lot of momentum in this area now, so watch this space.
It’s been suggested as many as one in four women aged 40 or older consider resigning, reducing their hours, retiring or leaving the workforce altogether because of their menopause symptoms. Business just cannot afford this. So whilst World Menopause Day does a great job of raising awareness of the menopause, we really need to keep menopause, its wide-ranging symptoms and considerable impacts on individuals in our minds everyday.
There is a range of menopause-related information on our website. Click here and search ‘menopause’ for blogs, cases and guidance.
As always, if we can help you with any of the issues discussed above, whether as an employer or an employee, please contact us on 0117 325 0526 or click below to submit an enquiry.