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United Kingdom

UK: Women’s health: Menopause in the workplace

The report notes that the current law does not specifically protect menopausal women and considers it unsatisfactory that, to make an effective claim, women must present themselves as suffering from a disability. It calls on the government to consult within six months on making menopause a protected characteristic, including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for menopausal employees.

The report also calls on the government to appoint a Menopause Ambassador to champion good practice and to produce model menopause policies which include:

  • how to request reasonable adjustments
  • advice on flexible working
  • sick leave for menopause symptoms
  • provisions for education, training and building a supportive culture

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel

The government’s response to the independent report Menopause and Employment: How to enable fulfilling working lives was published recently. It seems unlikely that the WEC’s call for legislative reform will be taken forward as the government confirmed in this response that it doesn’t intend to make any changes to the Equality Act.

The response does however state that a Women’s Health Ambassador for England has been appointed and will sit on the newly established UK Menopause Taskforce. The government has also said that it will work with employers and employer organisations to raise awareness on the menopause and assist them in supporting workers.