Government rejects recommendation to make menopause a protected characteristic

Posted on January 30th, 2023

The government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report on menopause, which was published in July 2022.

The government has rejected five of the Committee’s recommendations, including the recommendations to make menopause a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010 and to pilot a menopause leave policy.

One of reasons given for rejecting the proposal that it become a protected characteristic is ‘to avoid unintended consequences which may inadvertently create new forms of discrimination, for example, discrimination risks towards men suffering from long-term medical conditions’.

The Committee has described the response as a ‘missed opportunity to protect vast numbers of talented and experienced women from leaving the workforce’. It has called on the government to review its position.

Although the government also rejected the recommendation to produce a model menopause policy, it is supportive of the aim to educate and inform employers and workplace colleagues about the potential symptoms of menopause and how to support women at work.

The government’s full response to the report can be found here – Menopause and the workplace: government response to the committee’s first report of session 2022–2023.

The Committee’s response to the government document can be found here – Women being let down by ‘glacial’ government progress on menopause.

The link to CEFM’s model menopause policy can be found here – Menopause policy.

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