The menopause can be a sensitive issue with many women not feeling comfortable discussing their symptoms at work because they feel it is a private, personal matter or because they worry they might not be taken seriously or that their manager will feel uncomfortable/embarrassed talking about it.
The newly published ACAS guidance comes as a timely reminder of the impact the menopause can have on women’s everyday lives and suggests a number of measures that employers can adopt to support staff.
Given the potential risks of disability discrimination and/or sex discrimination, and/or age discrimination claims if a worker is mismanaged because of their menopause or perimenopause symptoms, employers would be well advised to introduce a policy that sets out how employees will be supported. Employers should also provide training to managers, supervisors and team leaders to make sure they understand:
- how to have a conversation with a worker raising a perimenopause or menopause concern;
- how the perimenopause and menopause can affect a worker;
- what support and/or changes for the worker might be appropriate; and
- the law relating to the menopause.
The key will be for employers to try to create an open culture, where employees feel confident approaching their manager to discuss their symptoms and where managers feel comfortable offering adjustments or solutions. These might be targeted at helping the employee continue in work or might minimise, reduce or remove any dips in their attendance or job performance because of symptoms.