October is menopause awareness month and offers the chance for the topic to be shared and discussed openly. This year’s theme for World Menopause Day on 18th October, is cardiovascular disease. The link between reproductive factors and cardiovascular disease is another important aspect of menopause that people need to be aware of.
The menopause can be seen as a difficult area for a person to share their feelings or experience on however, menopause awareness month was designed to remove the stigma surrounding such a sensitive topic and allow everyone to educate themselves on the impact that it can have on an individual.
The menopause takes place over several years and is a major stage in a person’s life. It is recognised that it can have a substantial impact on an employee’s performance in the workplace and employers are becoming more aware of the need and legal obligation to support those experiencing it. It can be a difficult area for employers to navigate, and costly to get it wrong, as evidenced in the recent case of Ms Lynskey vs Direct Line.
In August 2022, the government published its response to an independent report that was published back in 2021 which examines the menopause in the workplace. The government sets out its response to each recommendation included in the report, and taking the recommendations regarding employment, the responses include:
Changes to the Equality Act
The government does not believe changes to the Equality Act 2010 are needed on the basis that there are already several avenues available to employees to raise a claim in regards to treatment in connection with the menopause. Sex, age and disability are all protected characteristics which can provide protection against unfair treatment to those going through the menopause
The government recognises the importance of employee assistance programmes for offering support to employees regarding their mental health and wellbeing, especially during the menopause.
The government encourages employers to ensure that the menopause forms part of an EAP service.
For those small businesses that may not be able to introduce an EAP, the government will explore options for additional support within the workplace via the Health and Wellbeing fund
You can read the full response here.
If you or an employee are currently going through the menopause, it can be difficult to know exactly how to navigate such a sensitive time in a person’s life. We currently have a Menopause policy available for download from our HR Document Shop.
This is a useful policy that has been designed to assist with an employee that is currently going through the menopause.
You can download your menopause policy here.
Back in November 2021 we held a webinar which looked at how you can manage the menopause in the workplace.
This webinar is free and can be viewed on demand here.
The webinar opens the conversation for the subject and offers tips and guidance on how you can assist your employee through this period of their life.
We are here to help
This article was originally published in October 2022 and has been updated in October 2023.