The menopause is normally a gradual process over several years from perimenopausal to menopause symptoms, when a woman’s period ceases. Women usually hit menopause between the age of 45-55, with the average age in the UK being 51 years old. In exceptional cases, some women under 45 may also experience a premature menopause.
The menopause is not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. However, if an employee is put at a disadvantage and treated less favorably due to their menopause symptoms, this could be discrimination if related to a protected characteristic, for example: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment or Sex.
Employers should have steps, procedures, and support in place to help staff affected by the menopause. One support method employers could put in place is a menopause policy.
A menopause policy aims to set out the rights of employees experiencing menopausal symptoms and explains the support available to them. It will help to:
- Foster an environment in which colleagues can openly and comfortably instigate conversations or engage in discussions about menopause.
- Ensure everyone understands what the menopause is.
- Educate and inform managers about the potential symptoms of menopause, and how they can support colleagues at work.
- Ensure that employees suffering with menopause symptoms feel confident to discuss it and ask for support and any reasonable adjustments so they can continue to be successful in their roles.
- Reduce absenteeism due to menopausal symptoms.
- Assure employees that the employer is committed to supporting their needs during menopause.
If you are a Fusion client, we now have a menopause policy template available on your Document Downloads portal for you to download and use. You can access the Document Downloads portal easily by following this link. If you are not a Fusion client then you can purchase access to our Document Downloads or purchase the policy as a single document, get in touch to discuss how we could help you further.