Acas has published guidance for employers on supporting staff who are going through the menopause.
It is estimated that 2 million women over the age of 50 have issues at work because of symptoms of the menopause. Around one in twenty women will go through an early menopause before that age.
The new Acas guidance provides employers with useful information about the impact of the menopause on women and trans men and makes clear that many employees are often reluctant to share their symptoms at work because they feel embarrassed or fear they will be judged to be less capable.
The focus of the guidance is on supporting people to remain at work while experiencing difficult menopausal symptoms by, for example, making changes to the work environment and to working hours. It also suggests ways to encourage a more open culture at work where women feel they can discuss the problems they are experiencing and find workable solutions.
The guidance covers the risks of sex, age and disability discrimination if an employee who is suffering menopausal or peri-menopausal symptoms is treated unfavourably or made to feel humiliated in relation to their condition. While not everyone who goes through the menopause will be disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, those whose symptoms have a significant negative impact on their ability to do day to day activities will be protected by the Act.
Acas recommends that employers include within their risk assessments features and conditions of the workplace which might worsen menopausal symptoms. It also suggests that employers might develop with their employees a menopause policy and put in place specific training for managers.
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