Menopause in the workplace – what does the law say?
Is there a specific menopause law for the workplace?
In this blog we’re going to talk about menopause and the law for the workplace, because we know the law doesn’t accept ‘I didn’t know’ as a reason or an excuse so you’ll want to know what the law says (in the UK) about menopause at work.
When it comes to menopause and the law in the workplace, there is no specific law that directly relates to the menopause but Menopause at work is covered by certain pieces of legislation to protect employees and the employer.
The two laws are:
– The Equality Act 2010
– The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
The Equality Act
The aim of the Equality Act 2010 (UK) is to protect against discrimination.
Within the Act there are 9 protected characteristics covered by the Act.
- Sex or Gender (including gener reassignment) marital status or sexual orientation
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race, colour, ethnicity, nationality or national origins
- Religion or belief
Protected Characteristics – Menopause
And from these 9 the three protected characteristics that have been used in court cases involving discrimination due to the menopause are:
And the law states that it’s illegal to:
Discriminate against anyone with any protected characteristic
Discriminate against anyone with an association with any protected characteristic
Menopause can be a disability for some especially when menopause symptoms are severe and these symptoms can impact them mentally and/or physically, and can have a long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day to day normal tasks.
What does long term mean?
Long term means that the adverse effect has lasted more than a year or is likely to last more than a year.
Normal day to day tasks in the workplace could be concentration so the employer would have to be mindful not to discriminate.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) requires employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their workers and they’re required to do risk assessments under the management regulations from 1992 and 1999 which should include any specific risks to menopausal women.
Risk assessments should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure that the working environment will not make their symptoms worse.
Now, we know that some women may experience particularly severe symptoms, which mean that they could be classified as disabled under the Equality Act, which we’ve discussed in previous lessons. So it’s important to recognize that creating a decent workplace is not only essential, but keeps you on the right side of the law.
Your Legal Responsibilities
What are your legal responsibilities?
Well, the legal context under health and safety law, employers must ensure the health and safety of all their employees.
Employers have a duty to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the workplace risks to the health and safety of their employees. This includes identifying groups of workers who may be particularly at risk and approach which should extend to assessing any specific risks that some woman may experience during the menopause.
Want to know more about menopause awareness for your workplace?
Here’s some further reading.
Want to arrange your online menopause training? Email me TraceyTait@menopausetrainingcompany.com