A new guide to help employers manage and deal with the impact of menopause in the workplace has been produced by ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
It sets out common symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause, suggests how employers and employees work together to find solutions, and provides suggestions on how to approach this subject. In particular it includes practical tips on making adjustments to support employees going through the menopause.
Tracy Worthington, a Partner in our Employment team, has welcomed the guide.
She said: “Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 59 per cent of working women between the ages of 45 and 55 have experienced menopause symptoms that can have a negative impact upon them at work, such as poor concentration, feeling emotional, tiredness and lack of energy.
“The ACAS guide highlights helpful steps to support employees such as developing awareness, training for managers on the effects and symptoms of menopause, offering an alternative to a manager as the first point of contact or a wellbeing champion, and from a health and safety perspective, checking that the menopausal symptoms are not made worse by the workplace.
“It also encourages the careful and sensitive managing of sickness absence which could be related to the menopause or a possible reduction in job performance,” she added.
In certain circumstances the menopause symptoms can be classified as a disability under the Equality Act. Therefore it is important that employers are careful in their assessment of a female employee who may be experiencing the menopause. In addition, if an employee is treated unfairly because of the menopause there could be grounds for sex or age discrimination.
It is essential that employers support employees suffering with the menopause and in particular raise awareness in the workplace.
Tracy added: “Employers should consider making reasonable adjustments where necessary, and conduct risk assessments to identify specific needs of menopausal employees.
“The ACAS Code seeks to normalise this issue and assist employers in being aware of the challenges and issues that arise from the menopause and how to deal with them.”