Menopause in the workplace and the Government’s Race and Ethnic Disparities Report both feature in this week’s Quick Fire employment round-up.
Menopause and the workplace survey
Results of a recent survey commissioned by the Women and Equalities Commission have been published, forming part of a broader inquiry into menopause in the workplace.
The survey has found that almost a third (31%) of women have missed work due to menopause symptoms, including a loss of concentration, increased stress and a loss of confidence. Only 11% of respondents had asked for workplace adjustments to be made, with flexible working and temperature control the most commonly requested adjustments. Those who did not request adjustments cited concern about the reaction of others being the main reason.
The committee has called for more support to be given to women going through the menopause with the chair, Caroline Nokes MP, claiming that solutions are within “easy reach” for many employers and might include making practical workplace adjustments and taking steps to prevent banter around the menopause.
The committee’s inquiry will draw up recommendations for future policy and will consider whether any further legislative measures are required to protect those going through the menopause at work.
Race and Ethnic Disparities report – Government response
The Government has issued its response to the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which was published in March 2021. The commission was set up in order to identify racial disparities and inequalities in Britain and make recommendations on how to address them.
Inclusive Britain sets out a number of action points in response to the commission’s recommendations, including the following points in relation to employment and the workplace:
- Additional funding will be provided to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to support its enforcement activity. EHRC will also support more organisations to comply with equality law and develop policies and processes.
- A national position on governing and regulating artificial intelligence will be developed, which will include how to address potential racial bias in algorithmic decision-making.
- A new ‘Inclusion at Work Panel’ will be created by spring 2023, to develop and disseminate effective resources for employers to drive fairness across organisations, going beyond just race and ethnicity. Updated guidance on positive action will be provided by the Government Equalities Office by December 2022.
- Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting will not be introduced, but guidance on voluntary ethnicity pay reporting will be published in summer 2022. Those employers that choose to publish ethnicity pay figures will be expected to publish a diagnosis and action plan for how to address disparities.
- Efforts will be made to increase the numbers of young ethnic minorities in apprenticeships, through the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions working with partner bodies and employers.
- A pilot programme will be established to equip entrepreneurs from under-represented backgrounds with the skills they need to build successful businesses.
- The Government will no longer use the term ‘BAME’ in its communications, but will instead (and only when necessary) use the term “people from ethnic minority backgrounds”. This is intended to communicate more effectively on racial issues and avoid lumping together disparate ethnic minority groups. It will be encouraging other public sector bodies to adopt the same approach.
The most notable, and perhaps surprising, outcome following the commission’s report is that ethnicity pay gap reporting will not be made mandatory for larger employers. This was the subject of a consultation back in 2018, and was recently a recommendation made by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee (see last month’s Quick Fire item). The Government stated that it wanted to avoid imposing additional reporting burdens on employers as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at March 2022.