How to Write a Menopause Policy – What Should it Include?
All organisations require policies that outline the rules and expectations of the workplace regarding employee behaviour and performance. These policies give staff an understanding of their organisation as well as clarify what they can expect from their employers.
A menopause policy is perhaps not as common as others but is just as important. As all women (as well as some trans and non-binary people) will experience menopause at some stage of their life, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of how menopause affects the workplace, as well as a policy to manage it.
In this post, Guardian Support explores menopause policies, their importance, and what to include in yours.
Importance of a menopause work policy
A written menopause policy ensures that all female, trans and non-binary members of staff feel supported during this potentially stressful and difficult transitional period of their lives. In the past, people going through menopause have had to deal with a lack of awareness, support, sensitivity and inclusivity in the workplace.
By implementing a workplace menopause policy, you can enable these people to be treated with dignity and respect by their managers and co-workers. In addition to this, ensuring that your staff can ask for help and adjustments when dealing with menopausal symptoms will reduce sickness absence due to these symptoms, allowing your organisation to retain valued staff in the workplace.
Finally, a menopause policy manages legal risks. More on this below, but if a staff member experiences discrimination based on or brought on by their menopausal symptoms, they can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, which can become costly and problematic
How menopause relates to the law
Menopause is not currently a legally protected characteristic, but two Acts may protect staff in certain circumstances. These laws are:
- Equality Act 2010, which protects workers against discrimination
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which says an employer must, where reasonably practical, ensure everyone’s health, safety and welfare at work
Menopause is not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. But suppose an employee or worker is disadvantaged or treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms. In that case, this could be discrimination if related to a protected characteristic, for example:
- gender reassignment
In addition to this, certain symptoms of menopause may meet the definition of an ‘impairment’ under the Equality Act and, therefore, may require reasonable adjustments.
What to include in your menopause policy
A good and useful workplace policy requires information on a number of topics. It should be comprehensive and clear, in order to inform people of what they can expect, as well as what your organisation expects from them.
A menopause policy should include:
- Definitions of what is included in the policy (menopause, peri-menopause, post-menopause)
- Legislation involved
- Aims of the policy
- Symptoms covered in the policy (menopausal symptoms)
- Roles and responsibilities
- Support offered
This policy should also make it clear who staff can talk to about menopause symptoms. It should clarify that your organisation is committed to ensuring that staff feels confident in discussing menopausal symptoms openly, without embarrassment, and can ask for support and adjustments.
Any conversations relating to menopause should be kept strictly confidential, and information should only be shared with medical professionals or advisors as necessary and appropriate in all circumstances.
Conclusion on menopause policies at work
When it comes to menopause, as with other potential issues, having regular conversations with staff and listening to their concerns can help resolve issues early on before any potential legal action is taken. Keep in mind that your policy should apply to anyone experiencing menopause, regardless of their gender expression or identity.
If you need help writing a comprehensive menopause work policy, contact us today.