Baroness Stedman-Scott (Minister for Work and Pensions (Lords) and Minister for Women) has recently confirmed the Government has no plans to introduce menopause as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. However, this is not to say that menopause at work has fallen off the Government's agenda. Women who are unfairly treated at work for reasons linked to the menopause may pursue claims of sex, age and/or disability discrimination, and menopause related Tribunal claims have nearly doubled in the past year. Menopause is clearly an area where employers need to fully understand their obligations, potential liabilities, and how best to support affected staff.
In the same letter, Baroness Stedman-Scott also confirmed the Government does intend to update employer guidance on the menopause in order to help employers and staff understand the law in this area.
We have developed a new menopause policy, which is accompanied by a practical guidance note for line managers. The two documents are intended to be used together in order to set out what support might be available, and to equip managers with the knowledge and confidence to respond appropriately to staff who are affected by menopause at work.