Government rejects calls from MPs for menopause leave trial

The Government has rejected calls for a large scale pilot of menopause leave, in a move described as a “missed opportunity” by a Commons committee. Ministers have also

resisted a recommendation from the Commons Women and Equalities Committee to make menopause a “protected characteristic” under the Equalities Act. The recommendations formed

a key plank of a report by the cross-party committee in July last year focusing on menopause and the workplace, but in a response published on Tuesday the Government rejected the

two suggestions. Committee chairwoman Caroline Nokes questioned the Government’s commitment to the issue of menopause. In a letter to health minister Maria Caulfield,

the Conservative MP said she was disappointed that “very little new work has been committed to by the Government” in response to the committee’s report, as she expressed concern

that the Government had ignored what she termed the “significant evidence base” for menopause being seen as a “protected characteristic”. But the Government, in rejecting

the recommendation, suggested that such an approach might not be the best solution to support women. It also warns of unintentionally creating “discrimination risks towards

men suffering from long-term medical conditions, or eroding existing protections”. The Government also said that the proposal for a pilot scheme on menopause leave was not

seen as “necessary” and could turn out to be “counterproductive”.