Reasonable Adjustments

What are reasonable adjustments?

A reasonable adjustment is a change or changes to a staff member’s work environment, working arrangements, or equipment that removes or reduces a disadvantage related to a disability, mental health condition, or long-term health condition.

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to ensure staff with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, are not substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs.  

Examples of reasonable adjustments may include, but are not limited to:

  • Consideration of adaptations to working hours/pattern, or flexible working
  • Consideration of adaptations to work location, or home-working when required
  • Alterations to the working environment or procedures
  • Purchase or modification of equipment
  • Reallocation of duties
  • Redeployment.

Who can apply for reasonable adjustments?

Anyone is allowed to ask for adjustments to be put in place.

A job candidate can request changes to assist them when applying for a role, or a staff member if they need assistance in performing their job and sustaining their wellbeing. If adjustments are already in place and there are changes to their disability/long term health condition start to affect their ability to perform their role, further adjustments can be considered. 

How to agree and implement reasonable adjustments

Communication with the new starter or current staff member at an early stage will be essential to identify what adjustments they require to assist them to undertake their role. In some cases, this may be a simple adaptation such as a footstool or specific mouse for computer work. In others, this may not be so clear, or the adjustments required are more complex.

To assess whether a member of staff requires a reasonable adjustment, a manager or Employee Relations Adviser should discuss this with the staff member and then complete an Occupational Health (OH) referral. An appointment will then be made with one of the Occupational Health Advisers (OHAs). Following this appointment, the OHA will recommend if any adjustments are required (temporary or permanent) for the staff member to undertake their role. Some of these adjustments may relate to changes to working patterns, amendments to duties of the position and/or equipment purchases. 


Reasonable Adjustment Passport

We have created a Reasonable Adjustment Passport, (.docx) which is a record of reasonable adjustments agreed between a staff member and their manager. The passport acts as a live document about agreed changes in the workplace. It also means that if the staff member changes role or manager, they have a formal record of what has been agreed.

It is not a requirement to use the passport, and the decision to do so should be with the staff member. If it is used, it is to be primarily completed by the staff member, who should have control over the level of detail regarding any personal information. Access to the document must be limited to the staff member, their manager, and Occupational Health, unless the staff member has given consent. 

Who determines whether an adjustment is ‘reasonable’?

What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the circumstances of each case.

Relevant factors can include:

  • Cost of the adjustment
  • Resources available to the employer to fund this adjustment
  • Practicality of implementing any adjustments 
  • If it will be effective in removing or reducing any disadvantage for the staff member

Who is responsible for paying for reasonable adjustments?

Not all adjustments will have a cost, for example if a staff member needs to change their start and end working time but still do the same number of hours overall, this is a cost-free reasonable adjustment. 

Where costs will be incurred, such as specific equipment recommendations, the OHA will state in their report whether this will need to be funded by the staff member’s department, or whether this will be covered by the reasonable adjustment budget. The reasonable adjustment budget is held by OH and used when the staff member has a long-term condition or disability which fits the criteria of the Equality Act. 

Staff can also request support for funding of adjustments via Access to Work (AtW), which is a government fund run by the Department for Work and Pensions to support people with disabilities to remain or take up paid work. 

What if the staff member’s requirement does not come under Reasonable Adjustments or Access to Work?

Support for funding equipment required for reasons that do not fall under the Equality Act 2010 will need to be covered from the respective departments budget. Many common items, such as wrist rests and foot stools, can be purchased internally through DITS or Central Stores

If assistance is needed to source an item, please consult your department's DSE facilitator or HSLO/DHSO

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Contact us
Occupational Health team
Telephone: 01206 872399