The big menopause news for 2022 is the government inquiry asking if enough is being done to address the impact of menopause in the workplace which means this could finally be the year we see a change in government policy on menopause.
The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee sought written submissions addressing questions including:
- How can practices addressing workplace discrimination relating to menopause be implemented?
- How should people who experience the menopause but do not identify as women be supported in relation to menopause and the workplace?
- How well does current legislation protect women from discrimination in the workplace associated with the menopause?
These are thoughtful questions and the evidence is currently being reviewed but will it lead to a change in government policy on menopause?
The current status is that whilst there is no specific legislation in place to protect people working through menopause and no requirement for organisations to have a menopause policy. However, there is general protection under both the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Equality Act. Of the nine protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act, three have been found to be relevant to menopause: age, gender and disability.
Current thinking is that any change in government policy on menopause from a legislative perspective is likely to be either:
- Menopause policies become mandatory for organisations over a certain size.
- Menopause becomes a protected characteristic in its own right.
If menopause policies do become a requirement for business that’s a fairly straightforward fix – there are plenty of menopause policy templates freely available on line. What that won’t do of course is necessarily lead to any real change. After all, how often do you refer to your company policies on any topic unless there’s a problem?
If menopause becomes a protected characteristic this would be a clear message to all employers that you can’t discriminate against someone because they are going through menopause. A menopause training and awareness initiative will no longer be seen as a ‘nice to have ‘but would be recognised by all levels of the business as critical.
However, you can’t afford to wait for a change in government policy to get the menopause conversation started. People working through menopause are typically highly experienced and skilled employees and yet nearly one million have left the workplace.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call and discuss how you can quickly create positive behaviours and conversations around menopause and keep valuable, talented employees in the workforce.