This page describes best practice. It does not explain the law

1. Overview

It’s not always easy recruiting the people you need to help your business thrive. So, keeping and developing talent in your business is important.

HSE has developed principles to help you to support disabled workers and workers with long-term health conditions to get into and stay in work. We will refer to both as 'workers' in this guidance.

The principles represent best practice and go beyond what the law requires. Following them will help you to develop a supportive, enabling workplace culture.

Advice on specific conditions

This guidance is designed to help support all workers. If you want advice on specific conditions, the NHS England site has this.

Advice for specific situations

There is step by step advice on support with employee health and disability on GOV.UK. Use this government service to see questions about your situation and advice based on your answers. It includes things like:

  • managing absences
  • having conversations about health and disability
  • discussing changes to help people stay in work

Principles to help you build a supportive and inclusive workplace

Retain talent

Investing in worker’s health and wellbeing leads to a happier, more productive workforce. This can help you retain talent.

Consider how your workplace can support all workers throughout their employment. Removing obstacles that prevent workers carrying out their duties, can help people remain and thrive in their role. This can have significant, positive impacts on an individual and the business.

Conversations with workers

We have developed templates you can use to start practical conversations with workers. There is no strict format for the conversations and they can fit into an existing one-to-one or a new meeting.

You do not have to focus on each principle in every discussion with your worker.

You can use questions from different principles for wider conversations with your workers.

A good conversation relies on both managers and workers being open and honest. Managers should listen to what is being said and agree action points with the worker.

To support workers, the templates focus on some of these principles:

  • create a supportive and enabling workplace culture
  • take an inclusive approach to workplace health
  • understand the needs of disabled workers and those with health conditions
  • make suitable workplace adjustments or modifications
  • support sickness absence and return to work

There is also guidance on the other two principles:

  • develop skills, knowledge and understanding
  • use effective and accessible communication

You also have duties under health and safety law, for example you must protect workers’ health and safety. Under equalities law you may have to provide suitable adjustments in the workplace.

Alternative format of this guidance

There is a downloadable PDF of this guidance which is printable.

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Updated: 2023-02-22