What Rights Do Employees Have During Menopause?

20th October 2023



Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life, but it can bring about various physical and emotional challenges.  It is hoped that employers will be sympathetic to any of its employees experiencing menopausal symptoms, however, this may not always be the case. Employees who feel they are being forced out of their job due to a lack of support may need to look at their legal rights and remedies.


In the United Kingdom, women going through the menopause have specific legal rights and protections to ensure they are treated fairly and with respect in the workplace. These are summarised as follows:


Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is the cornerstone of legislation that prohibits discrimination in various aspects of life, including employment.  It includes several key protections for women going through menopause:

  1. Protection Against Discrimination – menopause is considered a protected characteristic under the Act, falling under the category of “sex”. This means that employers cannot discriminate against women because of their menopausal status.
  2. Reasonable Adjustments – employers are obligated to make reasonable adjustments to support employees experiencing menopause. This might include adjusting working conditions such as: temperature control, flexible working arrangements, or temporary workload reductions.
  3. Harassment – harassment based on menopausal status is unlawful. Employers should foster a workplace culture where employees are not subjected to offensive or degrading remarks or treatment.


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees.  For women experiencing the menopause, this includes:

  1. Temperature Control – employers should provide a comfortable working environment, which may include adjustments to temperature control, as menopausal symptoms like hot flashes can be exacerbated by uncomfortable working conditions.
  2. Risk Assessment – employers should conduct risk assessments to identify any potential hazards or issues that may affect employees experiencing menopause. This could involve considering factors such as stress levels and workload.
  3. Mental Health Support – menopause can impact mental health, and employers should take steps to support employees in managing stress and anxiety.


Additional Rights

Together with the above, women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms may be entitled to take sick leave under the company’s sick leave policy or statutory sick pay. Employers should not penalise or discriminate against employees for taking sick leave related to menopausal symptoms.  There is also a right to request flexible working (subject to the statutory requirements) for all employees; women experiencing menopause symptoms may find flexible working arrangements beneficial in managing these.


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If a female employee believes they have been subjected to discrimination or unfair treatment due to their menopausal status, they have the right to raise a grievance with their employer.  Employers should have clear grievance procedures in place and handle these cases with sensitivity and impartiality.


Raising your menopause issues with an employer is no longer a taboo subject.  Female employees suffering from symptoms have the right to be listened to and an employer should deal with the issues raised and make reasonable adjustments.  It is far better for all parties to work in a supportive environment.  However, if you are not working in such an environment then you do have legal protections as outlined in this article.


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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