Private consultants and GPs who employ staff are being advised to note a recent legal judgment where an employee was awarded £65,000 compensation after an employer failed to make reasonable adjustments when her role was affected by menopause symptoms.
This illustrates the importance of them having a menopause policy in place for staff, HR advisers say.
The warning comes from the Medical Defence Union (MDU) HR partner Peninsula, which provides employment law and health and safety advice to the defence body’s GROUPCARE practices and corporate members.
Peninsula’s Vicky Kitney reported increasing numbers of inquiries were being received from practice managers and GPs about accommodating staff with menopause symptoms.
Stream of inquiries
She said: ‘With the growing awareness of the need to support women with menopausal symptoms, we are seeing a steady stream of inquiries from GP practices about this issue. These account for a small but significant number of cases and the trend is increasing.
‘Typical scenarios include practices who want to accommodate staff experiencing symptoms like hot flushes, as well as inquiries about supporting those who may be struggling with performance issues like forgetfulness.
‘The recent legal judgement is a reminder for all employers to ensure they make adjustments and support employees with menopause symptoms.
‘Fostering an open, inclusive environment where employees feel they can raise concerns about how the menopause is affecting them with no stigma or embarrassment will help practices in becoming menopause-friendly employers.’
Dr Caroline Fryar, MDU director of medical services, said: ‘Research has shown that 10% of women leave their jobs and many more are reducing their hours or passing up promotions because of their menopausal symptoms. Ensuring colleagues feel supported is an important part of addressing this concern.’
The MDU website has further advice for practices on how to support staff with menopause symptoms.