Element 3: Planning and undertaking workplace adjustments
The guidance contained here was first published in 2004 and therefore makes no reference to the Fit Note. The majority of the guidance contained herein remains relevant, although readers will need to keep in mind the existence of the Fit Note in applying any potential recommendations.
Have you worked with your employee to plan for and undertake any workplace adjustments to aid their return to work?
The purpose of workplace adjustments is to:
- return your employee to their job with any modifications needed, or to an alternative job if no adjustments are possible;
- retain valuable skills;
- remove any obstacles to return to work.
Becoming disability aware
- If your employee is or becomes disabled you are legally required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to make reasonable adjustments to enable the employee to continue working. Not all disabled employees will need permanent adjustments to keep working. But if an individual does need help you need to make sure you reasonably do all that you can to modify their job.
- If you have any doubts about what might be reasonable, take advice from the Disability Rights Commission. Their help-line number is 08457 622633.
- Workplace Adjustments need not be difficult. You will often find solutions working with your employee and their Trade Union representatives. At other times you may need to seek professional advice.
- The key steps in planning adjustments are:
- Consider the needs of your employee and what they can do;
- Assess the possible obstacles to your employee’s return;
- Consider the adjustments needed to overcome these obstacles;
- Review health and safety risk assessments in the light of the proposed adjustments;
- Review how well the adjustments work;
- Seek professional advice, where necessary, to help you make informed decisions.
- In many cases a phased or gradual return to normal working hours within a fixed timescale is a key element in getting employees back to work. Other examples of workplace adjustments.
- There will be other occasions when there is no workplace adjustment that will enable an employee
to return to their original job. The key issues regarding alternative work include:
- checking the alternative is suitable;
- what the impact will be on the employee’s contractual terms and conditions;
- what training or support will be needed;
- what the employee will do while alternatives are explored.
Health and safety law requires that you undertake risk assessments of your activities to prevent people being harmed. You will need to review and possibly amend risk assessments if:
- there has been a significant change in your employee through injury, ill health or disability that makes them vulnerable to additional risks;
- you are introducing workplace adjustments that could affect the work and health of others.
Throughout all stages make sure your employee is at the centre of any discussions about http://www.hse.gov.uk/sicknessabsence/examplepolicy.htm what they can do and what adjustments they may need to continue working.