This once taboo topic has been high profile lately. Half of the population will go through the menopause and yet it has historically been off limits as a discussion topic. Menopause is more important now than ever with older workers expected to stay in work for longer. ACAS have produced some practical guidance on handling menopause in the workplace.
Menopause in the workplace
The guidance goes through what menopause is and the potentially debilitating symptoms it can produce for women. It suggests potential adjustments, from providing desk fans and extra rest breaks to being flexible about start and finish times.
How to manage menopause in the workplace
Handling menopause symptoms carefully is essential rather than good practice. Menopause symptoms have been accepted as a disability in tribunal proceedings. Handling things badly could also result in age and sex discrimination claims. Managing menopause effectively will help you retain your best talent and reduce recruitment costs.
Openness and understanding
The main message from the guidance is the importance of openness about the subject and understanding of its effect. Key to this is creating an environment where employees feel confident to raise the subject. A policy is helpful in starting the conversation and educating staff at all levels. Read the guidance from ACAS here.
Paul Burton, Head of Employment at Frettens says “We have had a few enquiries about menopause-related claims since it has been in the news over the last couple of months. Getting it wrong can lead to a real risk of at least a sex discrimination claim, if not an age-related one as well. Employers must ensure their procedures are up to date and managers are made aware of the risk. The ACAS guidance is useful, but if anyone needs assistance with policies, procedures or training they should get in touch with us.”
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and Kate or Paul will be happy to discuss it with you.
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