MENOPAUSE & THE WORKPLACE: Government Response to Committee’s First Report of Session 2022–2023 (published 24 January 2023)
The Government has printed this response to the recommendations put forward by the Women and Equalities Committee’s report entitled Menopause and the workplace: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2022–2023
Of the 12 recommendations made in the report, the government has accepted/partially accepted 7 and rejected 5.
Chapter Two of the report covers ‘Menopause in the workplace’ and contains 6 proposals
Of those recommendations accepted include:
Recommendation 6: appointing a Menopause Employment Champion to drive forward work with employers on menopause workplace issues and to spearhead the proposed collaborative employer-led campaign as outlined in the independent report.
Recommendation 9: Making flexible working a ‘day one’ right and removing the 26 week service; the government is supporting the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, currently going through Parliament, which would deliver these changes.
Recommendation 10: Strengthened guidance that will give a set of clear and simple ‘principles’ that employers would be expected to apply, to support disabled people and those with long term health conditions in the work environment. The guidance could also apply where workers are experiencing symptoms such as those that occur in the menopause. It will be published by the Health and Safety Executive in Autumn 2022.
Of those recommendations not accepted include:
Recommendation 11: introducing so called ‘dual discrimination’ i.e., allowing claims to be brought on combined grounds of sex and age.
Recommendation 12: making menopause a protected characteristic itself under the discrimination laws.
The report only covers the approach and actions in England. It notes that health is a devolved matter, administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will determine their own policies and approach to menopause.
It will be interesting to see the direction of the devolved nations following the report.
On 24 October 2022, the Department of Economy launched a public consultation to bring into force a legal right to miscarriage leave and pay.
This is to enact the commitment – (set out in the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (the 2022 Act) – to extend the provisions in that Act to those that suffer a miscarriage and remove the service requirement for pay.
The current Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave & Pay entitlement provides for:
- 10 days’ Parental Bereavement Leave;
- Parental Bereavement Pay for ‘eligible’ working parents (must meet minimum earnings threshold & have 26-week service requirement);
- for stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, or the death of a child under the age of 18.
The Executive is obliged by 6 April 2026 to:
- Extend benefits to those that suffer miscarriage (under 24 weeks);
- Remove the 26 weeks’ service requirement for pay (i.e., make it a Day 1 right)
When announced, Northern Ireland was the first jurisdiction in Europe to legislate for leave and pay for miscarriage; and when these new rights are enacted, it will mean Northern Ireland’s provisions will go further than the provisions place in GB.
Th Consultation runs from 24 October to 19 December 2022 and seeks views on enacting laws for miscarriage to mirror the provisions currently in place for death of child or still birth. It covers the following areas:
- How and when miscarriage leave can be taken;
- The duration of miscarriage pay entitlement;
- The notice to be given to an employer; and
- Establish what evidence may be required to demonstrate an entitlement to take miscarriage leave and/or pay.
It does not ask any questions on the tricky issue of ‘how do you calculate if a person meets the lower earning threshold if they have only started employment when they work irregular hours?’
Members can respond directly by completing the Response Document, which seeks in the main yes/no responses, by providing any response to email@example.com and we will respond on Organisations’ behalf. Please do contact us if you wish to discuss the consultation or any views in more detail. The Consultation documents can be accessed here.