The menopause is a natural phase of life, typically occurring between 45 and 55 years of age, however, it can affect women at a much younger age. Given that our population are living and working for longer, sometimes past retirement age, it is crucial for employers to be aware of the menopause and its variety of symptoms which can often be underestimated. Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and difficulty with concentration or memory.
Employers who are not supportive towards employees going through the menopause risk losing valued members of staff which they then have the cost of replacing. Those employees may simply decide they cannot cope and leave. Many will see a job they love as being taken away from them and look to their legal rights. This can be avoided if these employees are given the right support.
So, how can I support my employees?
In the UK, employers have legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to treat employees fairly and avoid discrimination based on protected characteristics, including sex and age. Menopause related symptoms can be considered a gender and age-related issue, so it’s essential to ensure that your workplace policies comply with these regulations.
The leading case law in menopause stems from Merchant v BT Group Plc . Here, an employee was discriminated against on the grounds of her gender as her employer failed to deal with her menopause symptoms – in the context of performance management – in the same way they would have done for a male counterpart. It is therefore crucial for employers to not fall into a similar trap, and become more supportive of women experiencing menopause symptoms.
Supporting employees during menopause is not just about being compassionate; it’s also good for business. Happy and healthy employees are more engaged, productive, and likely to stay with a company. By implementing the above strategies, UK employers can create a workplace environment that recognises and supports the challenges women face during menopause, ultimately benefiting both employees and the organisation as a whole. Every individual’s experience with menopause is unique, so flexibility and understanding are key to providing effective support.
If you would like further information on dealing with the menopause at work or help with drafting a menopause policy, please contact us 01353 383483 or email Natasha on email@example.com.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances. Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.
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