406: Menopause in the Workplace: latest Government response
On 24 January 2023, the Government set out its response to recommendations made in the Women and Equalities Committee’s July 2022 report, Menopause and the Workplace.
In particular, notable points of interest for employers include:
- The Government accepts the need for improved public health campaigns to ensure that employers are aware of menopause symptoms and can support women in the workplace, but highlights that several initiatives are already planned or ongoing, including the UK Menopause Taskforce and the 2022 Women’s Health Strategy for England.
- A ministerial-level Menopause Employment Champion will be appointed to work with employers and the Women’s Health Ambassador. This role will include creating a government-backed employer-led campaign aimed at keeping women with menopause symptoms in work and promoting their contribution.
- The Government supports the recommendation for the Menopause Employment Champion to publish six-monthly progress reports, including examples of good practice in the workplace.
- The Government has not accepted the recommendation to produce a model menopause policy but highlights existing Acas and CIPD guidance on best practice. Employers will be encouraged to implement workplace policies and training and to signpost employees to occupational health services. The Government’s response points out that some large employers, including the Civil Service and the NHS, have already signed up for the Workplace Menopause Pledge.
- The Government has also rejected the recommendation to introduce or pilot a policy for menopause leave, noting that this may be counterproductive to its aim of supporting menopausal women to remain in the workplace.
- The Committee’s recommendations to make menopause a new protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and to introduce a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for menopausal women have not been accepted. In the Government’s view, existing legislation on sex, age, and disability discrimination provides sufficient protection.
- The Government agreed with the recommendation to make the right to request flexible working a ‘day one’ right, a change which can be made by regulations.
- No timescales are set out for any of the initiatives mentioned in the consultation.
It is worth noting that health is a devolved matter, so the above points apply to England only, and the Northern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh administrations will determine their own policies in response to the Committee’s report.
To watch our recent webinar on Menopause in the Workplace, with practical steps for employers to take now, please click here. Passcode: lk^V1Qm@
If you are interested in particular sections, the timings in the recording are as follows:
Legislative Developments: 9:07
Types of Claims: 15:15
Recent Case Law: 25:55
Practical Tips: 40:03