NewsResearchMenopause in the workplace: New guidance enforces ‘reasonable adjustment’ from employers

Sophie Crossley2 months ago6 min

It’s not just women who should be talking about the menopause, especially in the workplace. Research has shown that one in ten women who have experienced the menopause while working left their jobs due to the symptoms, with two thirds of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 report the menopause having a negative impact on them at work. Now, new guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is setting out employer’s legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

The new EHRC guidance seeks to make these legal requirements clearer while also offering helpful advice to employers on how to make appropriate accommodations and encourage candid discussions about the menopause with their staff.

Menopause symptoms may qualify as a disability if they significantly and persistently impair a woman’s capacity to perform her daily activities. Employers will have a legal duty to provide reasonable accommodations and refrain from discriminating against employees under the Equality Act 2010.

Furthermore, due to age and gender, employees who are going through the menopause may be shielded from less favourable treatment because of their symptoms.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said, “As Britain’s equality watchdog, we are concerned both by how many women report being forced out of a role due to their menopause-related symptoms and how many don’t feel safe enough to request the workplace adjustments.

 An employer understanding their legal duties is the foundation of equality in the workplace.

“But it is clear that many may not fully understand their responsibility to protect their staff going through the menopause. Our new guidance sets out these legal obligations for employers and provides advice on how they can best support their staff.”

A quick history of the Equality Act 2010

Thanks to the Equality Act 2010, workers are protected from discrimination, harassment, and victimisation on the basis of characteristics including disability, age, and sex. Long-term menopause symptoms that impact a woman’s ability to carry out day-today activities could also be considered a disability. In this case, employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

The below video is sourced from the EHRC and details how workers experiencing menopause symptoms may be protected by the Equality Act 2010, and outlines the legal obligations that employers have under the Act.

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Sophie Crossley

Sophie Crossley is our Content Editor. She has 5+ years of experience in comms with a focus on wellbeing, the built environment, and lifestyle.

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