Menopause – everyone’s business - Kuits Solicitors Manchester

Menopause – everyone’s business

Menopause – everyone’s business

12th May 2022 - Published by Kuits Employment team

Why is menopause a business issue?

Menopause coincides in many cases with a woman hitting the peak of her career possibly having fought for her position while going through maternity and family leave. However, just like maternity and family leave, menopause is a temporary phenomenon and isn’t something that should be holding women back.

Women aged 50 – 64 are the fastest-growing, economically active group due to the rise in the state pension age and an increase generally in life expectancy. Sadly, 3 in 5 menopausal women feel negatively affected at work and 900,000* women say they left their jobs due to symptoms. Women report that workplace practices and environments make their symptoms worse but it’s also the lack of understanding and recognition by colleagues and managers that make the situation even more difficult.

Research suggests that up to 14 million workdays per year could be lost due to the menopause and with 1 in 4 menopausal women considering leaving the workplace due to a lack of support, businesses face a potential loss of talent, a lack of diversity at board levels and a negative effect on their gender pay gap reporting.

What are the legal implications?

A failure to manage and support employees could give rise to claims of unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal. It also gives rise to the risk of discrimination claims which can be devastating for a business in terms of negative publicity and the uncapped amount of compensation awarded in such cases.

Menopause isn’t a protected characteristic, but it has been cited in tribunal cases and can fall within one of three areas of discrimination: sex, age and disability.

What can employers do?

Approximately only 1 in 10 employers has a menopause policy in place so developing a policy, thinking about the contents, and consulting with staff to make it bespoke in advance of rolling it out should be considered by employers. Management training is fundamental to empower managers to be able to have supportive conversations and to raise awareness through the business. Employers should consider managing workloads to support women struggling with symptoms and by the same token should ensure that women aren’t penalised for requiring adjustments. A menopause policy would typically help to raise awareness about menopause in the workplace, set out the company’s approach and support available. Having a menopause policy inevitably equips the employer with a good potential defence.

*stats from BUPA and CIPD

Get in touch with an Employment law advisor today

If you would like advice on anything mentioned in this article, please contact Employment law Partner Sally Bird on 0161 838 7818 or email sallybird@kuits.com.

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