Menopause as a protected characteristic?
Menopause as a protected characteristic?
As World Menopause Day approaches – 18th October 2022 – and the conversations around menopause continue to gain momentum, we at Tai Pawb thought we would provide an update on what the current landscape is and what support is available to employers.
But first, let’s start with why is this important?
The menopause research from the independent Nuffield Health group really spotlights the issues faced by people, and they found;
- Approximately 13 million people in the U.K are either peri- or post menopausal
- Symptoms can last up to 15 years
- Over 60% of people experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes
- 1 in 4 people will experience severe debilitating symptoms
- Almost half of menopausal people say they feel depressed
- A third of people say they suffer with anxiety
- People commonly complain of feeling as though they are going mad
- Approximately two thirds of people say there is a general lack of support and understanding
There is considerable support nationally for menopause to become a protected characteristic and there has been discussion at the House of Commons. But why? Currently any discrimination claims linked to menopause are brought under sex, age or disability, but there have been arguments made that some cases cannot be linked to these protected characteristics which is leaving people exposed and vulnerable to unfair treatment.
The reality is it’s unlikely there will be any amendments to the Equality Act 2010 any time in the near future but as this is such an important issue, employers should be taking steps to support their employees experiencing menopause and raising awareness to all colleagues.
What support is available?
The Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry to examine the extent of discrimination faced by menopausal people in the workplace and investigated how government policy and workplace practices can better support those experiencing menopause. The report has now been published, Menopause and the Workplace 2022, and there is a recommendation that employers do more to support employees including the right to reasonable adjustments. There are also a number of practical suggestions that employers can consider including “fostering a greater respect and understanding of menopause”. Furthermore, they have called on the government to nominate a Menopause Ambassador to work on behalf of government to represent the interests of people experiencing menopause transition.
There is also a UK Government Menopause Taskforce which will look at the menopause as a cross-cutting policy issue, inviting representatives from different UK Government departments and external experts to ensure that the breadth of areas impacted by the menopause are considered and joined up. The taskforce has published a list of recommendations for employers to consider including conversations in the workplace to normalise the issue, the importance of training line managers, synthetic workwear, ventilation and other workplace adjustments.
Tai Pawb Support
Tai Pawb also has a number of support services available to all our members, these are:
- Making Menopause Matter in the Workplace Network
- Established in 2019 by our finance officer, Andrea Penny, Menopause Matters meets three times a year to listen to key speakers and discuss the challenges of menopause in the workplace – and, importantly, how best to overcome them. Free to members, the network is a platform for our member organisations to raise human resource implications, but also to share good workplace initiatives put in place to support employees. Some of our external speakers have provided information on topics such as period poverty and nutrition during menopause.
- We are just about to plan our next network event so keep an eye on our mailers and social media for the date and if there is any specific topic you would like us to cover then get in touch to let us know.
- For more information on Menopause Matters sessions contact Andrea on firstname.lastname@example.org
- World Menopause Day Event – 18th October 2022
- On 18th October we are hosting a ‘Let’s Talk About Menopause in the Workplace’ event.
- This 60 minute session is designed for all employees as awareness raising and includes a 15 minute Q&A with our external expert Joanne Crovini.
- For more information and to book your place, click here
- Menopause in Workplace Awareness Training
- We can arrange a variety of sessions on menopause for your workplace that can be tailored to meet your specific organisational needs.
- These include awareness raising sessions or longer programmes to support your employees.
- These can be viewed on our website here
As a last remark, we want to give a shout out to all our fantastic members who have implemented workplace practices to support their employees with menopause – we have seen and heard of heaps of good practice across Wales. Da iawn pawb.
If you would like more information on anything discussed here then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com or 029 2105 7957.