New guidance to help address equality issues in relation to women affected by the menopause in employment has been launched today. Women currently make up half of the workforce in Northern Ireland and at some stage during their working lives they may have to work through the menopause and this can impact on how they work.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Northern Ireland Committee and Labour Relations Agency have produced the guidance ‘Promoting Equality in Employment for Women Affected by the Menopause’, to explain why menopause may be a workplace issue for some employees and how employers can support those affected by it.

The guidance, which is aimed at employers and trade unions, has been designed to assist employers, working together with employees and trade unions, to build a positive and supportive workplace for anyone going through the menopause. It includes good practice examples, a checklist for employers and other useful resources to help employers develop their policies and procedures to support women who are affected by the menopause whilst working.

Menopause can affect every aspect of life, including working life. While statutory equality law does not expressly provide protection for menopause or perimenopause, those who suffer discrimination in employment that is related directly or indirectly to them having menopausal symptoms may be able to seek legal remedies if alleging that they have suffered unlawful discrimination or harassment on the grounds of sex, disability or age.

The first training session for employers based on the new ‘Promoting Equality in Employment for Women affected by the Menopause’ guidance will be held online on 10 June 2021 and can be booked via Equality NI website.