Response published to Committee report on menopause and the workplace
The government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee's (WEC's) report, 'Menopause and the Workplace'. It has confirmed that it will appoint a "menopause employment champion" to drive forward work with employers on menopause workplace issues and to spearhead an employer-led, Government-backed communications campaign on menopause in the workplace.
The government has not accepted the Committee's recommendation to produce model menopause policies as it does not believe that a model menopause policy is necessary. It has referred instead to other steps being taken by employers and organisations, including Acas, to develop workplace policies and guidance.
It has also rejected the Committee's recommendation to commence section 14 of the Equalities Act 2010 (EqA 2010) to protect women going through menopause. Section 14 provides for the introduction of dual protected characteristics to enable someone suffering poor treatment because of a combination of protected characteristics to bring a single claim. The WEC report noted how unsatisfactory it is that menopausal women must frequently present themselves as suffering from a disability in order to make an effective claim. Under dual protected characteristics provisions they would be able to bring a claim for the dual protected characteristic of sex and age.
Finally the government has not accepted the Committee's recommendation to launch a consultation on making menopause a protected characteristic. Although the government acknowledges that it is important to protect women suffering substantial and longer-term menopausal effects should be adequately protected from discrimination in the workplace it is not satisfied that the evidence given to the Committee during its inquiry fully supports introducing menopause as a new protected characteristic.