Menopause leave rejected by ministers

Menopause leave rejected by ministers

Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “We have been speaking about this for some time with our clients and other people when visiting business networking events and was waiting for the outcome of the proposal.  This now shows that they are recommending that all companies have a Menopause Policy in place, but that Menopause is not going to be a protected Characteristic under the Equality Act October 2010 together with the current protected characteristics that are protected from day one of employment with the possibility of unlimited financial awards.  These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.  Businesses need to ensure that they have the correct HR company Policies and Procedures in place and ensure they are practiced correctly and not just left in a HR Policy file and not used as an Employment Tribunal (ET) will look at custom and practice when deciding on an outcome and whether they received less favourable treatment amongst others.”


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UK government ministers have rejected a proposal to introduce “menopause leave” pilots in England, arguing it could be “counterproductive,” and have also dismissed a recommendation to make menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. In July 2022, the Women and Equalities Committee published a report which warned that the impact of menopause was causing the UK economy to “haemorrhage talent,” and said a lack of support was pushing women out of work. In its response to the report, the government rejected outright five of the committee’s 12 proposals, including a recommendation for the government to work with a large public sector employer to “develop and pilot a specific menopause leave policy.” A cross-party group of MPs had argued this could stop women being “forced out of work by insensitive and rigid sickness policies.” The government said it was focused on encouraging employers to implement workplace menopause policies, adding: “We are concerned that specific menopause leave may be counterproductive to achieving this goal.” It also said it would not launch a consultation on amending the Equality Act to introduce a new protected characteristic of menopause “including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for menopausal employees,” saying such a move could have “unintended consequences which may inadvertently create new forms of discrimination, for example, discrimination risks towards men suffering from long term medical conditions or eroding existing protections.” Conservative MP Caroline Nokes criticized the government response to the Women and Equalities Committee, which she chairs.  “This is a missed opportunity,” said Nokes in a letter to the Minister for Women Maria Caulfield. “The evidence to our inquiry was crystal clear that urgent action was needed across healthcare and work settings to properly address women’s needs, yet government progress has been glacial and its response complacent.”



Menopause leave rejected by ministers
Menopause leave rejected by ministers


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Consensus HR realises that many UK based SMEs understand the importance of Human Resources (HR) and Health & Safety (H&S) but cannot justify the cost of a full time HR person / team within their business, whilst knowing that when running a business of any size (from one employee to 250) that there will be a time when they will have to deal with a range of HR and H&S issues and employee problems. Consensus HR can be your organisation’s HR department providing everything you would expect to find in a big company but in a more cost-effective way. We provide our clients access to unlimited HR advice and employment law which is accredited by leading professional bodies, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

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Following the latest news in relation to the Menopause, does your company currently have a policy? If not, give us a call now.

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