You don't have to accept severe period pain or heavy bleeding. Join the "Just a Period" campaign
Home Wellbeing of Women Logo

Wellbeing of Women welcomes new menopause anti-discrimination guidance

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is reminding employers of their legal obligations in providing workplace menopause support

A group of women sitting around a table in a workplace setting a table i a

For many women, the menopause or perimenopause can be a challenging time, particularly in the workplace. Most women will experience menopause symptoms, such as anxiety, fatigue, loss of concentration, and hot flushes. For some these will be severe enough to impact their daily life, including their jobs.

At Wellbeing of Women, we have heard from countless women about how a lack of support from their managers and employers have impacted their performance at work and led them to turn down promotions, reduce their hours or even quit their job altogether.

This is why we launched the Menopause Workplace Pledge – to kickstart a transformation in menopause support at work. So far, almost 3,000 organisations have signed up and are implementing measures that are positively benefitting millions of workers in the UK and beyond.

Now, the Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC) has published guidance for employers to remind them that women going through the perimenopause or menopause may be protected from less favourable treatment under the Equality Act 2010 on the grounds of age and sex.

If these symptoms are having a major impact on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities, the EHRC says this may be considered a disability. This will mean employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Janet Lindsay, Chief Executive of Wellbeing of Women, said:

“It’s hugely positive to see the EHRC take active steps to promote the legal rights of women going through the menopause under the Equality Act. In the past, too many women have told us how a lack of understanding and support made their menopause symptoms harder to manage in the workplace. Some have also felt unable to talk openly about their symptoms for fear of discrimination."

Women make a valuable contribution to their workplace and the nation’s economy, and this doesn’t and shouldn’t have to stop when they reach the menopause Janet Lindsay Wellbeing of Women CEO

“Through our own Menopause Workplace Pledge and Let’s #ChatMenopause campaigns, we know conversations about the menopause are becoming more normalised and employers want to understand their employee’s needs to put in place bespoke support measures and policies. It’s vital that managers and employers see the menopause as a serious issue to help accelerate this necessary culture change within an organisation. We therefore hope the EHRC guidance will continue to foster positive conversations and a transparent working environment.

An employer understanding their legal duties is the foundation of equality in the workplace...We hope this guidance helps ensure every woman going through the menopause is treated fairly and can work in a supportive and safe environment. Baroness Kishwer Falkner EHRC Chair

Supporting women to thrive at work

Following the success of the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which was launched in partnership with Hello! Magazine and supported by Bupa, Wellbeing of Women is helping organisations go further in their commitment to supporting women to thrive professionally.

We recognise that women can face a myriad of health issues throughout their professional working lives. This can include heavy menstrual bleeding, period pain, infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth and gynaecological cancers.

Sadly, many still don’t feel comfortable talking about their health and wellbeing with colleagues and can struggle in the workplace. Without the right support to help women manage their health at work, organisations risk losing talented people to more understanding and compassionate employers.

Our Employer Membership Programme addresses this pressing need by giving organisations access to practical resources, developed with experts, to help craft and implement policies and other measures to promote and support people’s gynaecological health in the workplace.

We are also offering a unique menopause in the workplace training workshop for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire that employ up to 250 staff. Menopause Xplored uses virtual reality (VR) to help people become more aware, and in turn more supportive, of the menopause and its impact on women in the workplace.

By focusing on helping workplaces to support people in managing their gynaecological health, everyone benefits – people are more likely to stay with their employer and be motivated to do their best work because they feel heard, respected and supported.