Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / LGBTQIA+ and Well-being and Equality in the workplace
Georgina Hardcastle

HR Consultant - East Sussex (Uckfield)

7th February 2023

February sees a number of awareness days that shine a spotlight on a number of important areas that employers need to consider when managing their workforce.

Time to Talk Day

The 2nd of February marked Time to Talk Day, the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Happening every year, it’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Employers must keep the conversation about mental well-being high on the business agenda by supporting different campaigns to reduce stigma and raise awareness. Every year, one in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. Time to Talk Day is about encouraging everyone to make space in their day for a conversation about mental health. Employers should consider:

  • Organising or encouraging wellness activities for employees to help energise them and encourage them to think about their well-being/self-care.
  • Training managers on mental health awareness to equip them with a baseline knowledge of tools they can use during difficult conversations.
  • Providing accessible mental health benefits and have mental health first aiders or champions.

World Cancer Day

The 4th February marked World Cancer Day, the global uniting initiative aimed at raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action to tackle cancer.

Within the workplace, cancer is automatically deemed to be a disability under the Equality Act 2010.  This law protects those with disabilities from suffering discrimination. Employers should develop meaningful HR policies to include supportive measures for those employees undergoing cancer treatments such as:

  • Accommodating ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as flexibility in hours and/or a slower pace of work or breaks from work;
  • Training Managers to have supportive conversations with their staff such as finding out what symptoms they have and what support they might need;
  • Helping staff to return to work following cancer treatment and supporting them at work while living with cancer.

LGBTQIA+ History Month

Now in its 19th year, February 2023 celebrates LGBTQIA+ History Month and provides free resources for education settings, businesses, services and organisations to help them celebrate and usualise LGBT+ lives in their full diversity.

A shocking 92% of LGBTQIA+* employees believe there are barriers preventing them from progressing to senior roles and almost half think that there is an LGBTQIA+ pay gap in their organisation. Furthermore, a third believe senior management are more likely to promote non-LGBTQIA+ employees who have more in common with them, and over a quarter report they have been discriminated against by senior leaders when deciding promotions (Data by INvolve as reported by HR Review).

A recent study by Stonewall found that half of LGBTQIA+ people had experienced depression, and three in five had experienced anxiety. One in eight LGBTQIA+ people aged 18 to 24 had attempted to end their life.

Employers should ensure they have Diversity and Inclusion policies in place in order to welcome and embrace people’s differences, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to grow and thrive at work and to ensure a zero-tolerance culture of discrimination.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and More.

What’s on the Horizon?

  • The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill is to have its third reading on 24 February 2023. This includes a day 1 right to request flexible working and other changes to current law. We will keep you posted.
  • The Government has proposed new Strike Laws for key public services – watch this space.
  • New Statutory Payments Increases will take effect on 1 April 2023 – This will include an uplift in statutory payments for maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, parental bereavement, statutory sick pay and the national and living wage.

Contact us

If you have questions regarding Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace, or if you would like support or advice regarding any area of employment law, please get in touch with experienced Employment Solicitor Elaine Abbs or call 01732 441125. To find out more about GatekeeperHR you can browse www.gatekeeperhr.co.uk, sign up for a free trial, or contact us.