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Welcome back! We hope you had a lovely Easter which involved lots of chocolate. In our house we did the obligatory egg hunt on Sunday morning which will no doubt mean I’m finding eggs all over the place for weeks to come.

And in other news, I was a bridesmaid on Monday, and no it wasn’t an April fools thankfully! It was an amazing day. Who doesn’t love a good wedding?!

And now we’re in April, spring is here (apparently, ignoring the hail we had last week!), long days and summer is on the way, I can’t wait.

Anyway.. onto why you’re here, the employment law update for this week.

Research from a healthcare provider, SimplyHealth, has revealed that 23% of working women have considered quitting their job due to the impact of the menopause or menstrual symptoms. We’ve already discussed how best to deal with menopause at work, see here, so in this blog I thought I would discuss menstrual health and what you as employers can be doing to help support your employees.

Menstrual health effects all generations of women, non-binary people and transgender men in the workplace, and is therefore likely to have a big impact on the workplace and your employees, but it can be a taboo topic for many workplaces.

It’s important that, as an employer, you’re getting these sorts of issues right. That can help you create a much happier workforce and – in the more extreme cases – it can help you to avoid tribunal claims: whether that’s a claim for harassment on the grounds of sex (if somebody makes an inappropriate comment about menstrual health) or disability discrimination (if symptoms related to menstrual health meet the legal test for a disability under the Equality Act 2010).

So, what can you do?

One big thing is breaking that taboo!

We would recommend training for managers, so that there is increased knowledge about menstrual health and the impact it can have on people. This will help to create an open and comfortable environment for these issues to be able to be discussed. Many men in particular may feel uncomfortable having these discussions so offering them training so they better understand the issues may help empower them to feel like they are better placed to have these discussions when needed.

Practically speaking though, some sort of flexible working can really help an employee manage their menstrual symptoms. These are small changes that can get you big wins. So, for example, allowing an employee suffering with menstrual health issues an additional break or rest during the day, can boost productivity.  Working from home, again can be really helpful for an employee experiencing symptoms, by allowing them the home comforts which an office environment couldn’t.

Allowing additional time off is also something to consider, some employers have coined this “menstrual leave”, meaning that an employee doesn’t have to take a day’s annual leave or sickness to deal with the symptoms, they can instead take a specific (paid) day to help them. There is, strictly speaking, no legal requirement for this in the UK (unlike countries such as Spain where this a legal concept of “menstrual leave”) but it is a practical solution to an issue that can come at a small cost but achieve a big win.

Above all, communication is key! Again, this is going to help break that taboo which will make everybody feel more comfortable and allow proper support to be put in place. Make sure employees know that there is specific support for them, that they are able to openly discuss their issues. Let them know who to speak to, what support there is and where to go for the support when it is needed.

If you find yourself facing an issue related to menstrual leave in the workplace and you aren’t sure where to turn, you know the answer right? Precept! We’re armed with the legal knowledge and practical know-how to help you navigate this sometimes tricky topic. Please call us, we’re here to help.