HR2day, an HR expert based in Darlington, has praised fashion brand ASOS for its new menopause workplace policy, and is urging other businesses to follow suit to avoid potential tribunals.

The fast fashion retailer recently announced that it would allow staff to take advantage of flexible working hours or take paid leave when they are going through the menopause. The change comes ahead of World Menopause Awareness Day on 18 October.

The firm is also offering 10 days of compassionate leave to parents who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy, which will be made available to employees of any gender.

Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day has praised the move and suggests that other businesses could look at this model, particularly as recent figures show the number of employment tribunals involving the treatment of people displaying menopausal symptoms has increased significantly in the last two years.

Research by the Menopause Experts Group found that in 2020, 16 tribunals included the menopause within the claim, which was up from six and five in 2019 and 2018 respectively. The study projects that the figure for 2021 could be in excess of 20.

Nicky Jolley said: “For many, menopausal symptoms can be as debilitating as any illness, but we are just expected to carry on because it’s natural, but it can be incredibly difficult to carry on when you’re suffering.

“People are more aware that they can complain if they feel they are being treated unfairly, and if a menopausal person has been dismissed or disciplined because of their condition, they are now speaking up, and this is causing more employers than ever to be taken to tribunal for this reason.

“Firms like ASOS are leading the way with their new policy, and I’d urge other businesses, big or small, to look at their policies and see where they can accommodate staff needs rather than getting them to approach it with a stiff upper lip.

“A good HR person will consider how both the employer and the employee can be fully supported and will find a way to make sure there is fair treatment and reasonable accommodation where possible.”