Empowering Employers to Support Women in the Workplace

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Written by: SafeWorkforce
23rd February

In a positive step towards workplace equality and employee welfare, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has this week stressed the vital need for employers to make "reasonable adjustments" for those experiencing menopause in their workforce. This guidance, issued by the EHRC, sheds light on companies' legal obligations towards women experiencing menopausal symptoms, emphasising proactive measures to enhance wellbeing.

The guidance set by the EHRC outlines specific adjustments employers can implement to better accommodate menopausal women, ranging from remote work arrangements to enhanced workplace ventilation and the provision of rest areas. Failing to implement these adjustments could potentially breach UK disability discrimination laws, particularly if menopausal symptoms substantially interfere with the ability to complete daily tasks.

The EHRC's guidance responds to alarming statistics highlighting the significant challenges faced by women trying to navigate menopause while advancing in their careers. Surprisingly, one in ten women surveyed disclosed feeling the need to leave their jobs due to the severity of their symptoms. Additionally, a substantial majority of women aged between 40 and 60 encountered menopausal symptoms during work hours, thereby affecting their professional lives.

The concern is the reluctance exhibited by many women to seek adjustments in the workplace, driven by fears of potential repercussions. This demonstrates the lack of understanding and support within numerous organisations regarding menopause-related issues.

The EHRC strongly cautions against disciplinary action for menopause-related absences, highlighting the potential for such measures to constitute discrimination. Additionally, any language that diminishes or ridicules menopausal symptoms is deemed as harassment and should be prohibited. This new guidance aims to bridge this knowledge gap and establish employers with clear directives on how to support their employees effectively.

As organisations endeavour to cultivate inclusive and supportive workplaces, the EHRC's guidance serves as a poignant reminder to recognise and address the unique challenges encountered in the workplace. By implementing reasonable adjustments and fostering a culture of empathy and support, employers can forge environments where all employees can succeed, irrespective of their life stage.

Need help understanding the impact?

Our SafeWorkforce HR experts understand the importance of cultivating inclusive and supportive work environments. We specialise in assisting organisations to understand and implement complex challenges, including those posed by menopausal symptoms in the workforce.

Get in touch to speak to one of our experts.