Last year, the Women and Equalities Committee of the House of Commons published the report ‘Menopause and the Workplace’.  The Report made twelve recommendations to the Government, aimed at encouraging an improvement in the support and legal rights in the workplace afforded to women experiencing menopause.  The Government has now published its response to the Report and outlined its approach moving forward.

The Report, published in July 2022, made several recommendations:

  • the appointment of a Menopause Ambassador to work with businesses, unions, and other groups to give guidance to employers.
  • the production of model menopause policies to assist employers;
  • for the Government to work with a large public sector employer to develop and pilot a menopause policy;
  • legislation for flexible working to become a day-one right to all employees;
  • to implement section 14 of the Equality Act, which would have the effect of introducing sex and age as a single dual protected characteristic; and
  • to launch a consultation on amending the Act to provide for menopause as an individual protected characteristic.

The government has agreed with some, but not all, of the report’s recommendations.

It confirms that it will appoint a ‘Menopause Employment Champion’ to work with employers and the government to highlight best practices and how they can improve support in the workplace.  It also accepts the recommendation to make flexible working a day-one right for employees, something it has recently announced it will legislate on.

However, the government has rejected several of the report’s recommendations, including the implementation of a model menopause policy in the public sector (something it does not deem necessary due to current efforts to develop guidance and policies in this area).

A very important area that they did not agree with was the proposal to classify menopause as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act; this has been refused. It is the opinion of the government that it would be unworkable in practice.  The report comments that the current protected characteristics (specifically age, sex, and disability) already provide sufficient protection against unfair treatment of employees experiencing menopause.

If you want to know more on how you can protect yourself in this area, please do get in touch.