Menopause in the Workplace – Moving Forward?

Menopause awareness seems to be high on the agenda with various media campaigns doing great work. More women than ever will go through the menopause whilst working, given that women are working longer and making up more of the working population than decades ago. However if employers fail to provide support then vital skills and expertise will be lost, with women often leaving at the peak of their experience, this will have a knock on effect on leaving skills shortages, contribute to a representation gap at senior levels and will impact on any gender pay gap reporting.

On 27 October 2021, at the second reading debate of the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill (a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Carolyn Harris MP), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Maria Caulfield MP, announced that legislation would be amended to reduce prescription charges for HRT products in England. This is welcome news and movement in the right direction, but much more can be done and it seems will be done by the government, and the following updates were provided that may be of particular interest to employers in the travel industry:

  • In England, the menopause will be a women’s health strategy priority. The government recognises that work needs to be done, including in relation to workforce support, and so will establish a new menopause taskforce to encourage a fast and coherent approach to improved support for those experiencing the menopause.
  • Flexible working options, whether part-time working or job-sharing, can assist those in menopause. Responses to the government’s consultation on various reforms to the right for employees to request flexible working( whether it should become a day one right, as opposed to having 26 weeks service to be eligible), which remains open until 1 December 2021, were encouraged.
  • The Women and Equalities Committee, chaired by Caroline Nokes MP, will shortly hold an inquiry on menopause and the workplace. (In fact, this Committee launched an inquiry in July 2021 which remained open for submissions until 17 September 2021
  • The Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mims Davies MP, will host a roundtable with organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses to improve support for and understanding of the menopause. Recommendations will be made to Parliament in November 2021.
  • As 25% of all working women in the workplace are going through menopausal changes, employers are encouraged to provide a supportive working environment and set out in a policy guidelines to an employer’s approach to dealing with workplace issues relating to the menopause. Please get in touch with ami@travlaw.co.uk if you would like to implement a Menopause at work policy.

Travel Talks Menopause has launched its first event (I will be joining the panel of experts) – an hour-long panel discussion featuring advice as well as tips on how businesses can best support women experiencing the menopause. Click here to Register!

If you have any questions or are thinking of introducing a Menopause at Work policy; contact

ami@travlaw.co.uk

or call;

0113 258 0033

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