We at RA-CIC recognise the challenge for employers in constructively and lawfully supporting employees whose health condition impacts on their ability to perform their roles. It is not always straightforward determining if employees are eligible to request reasonable adjustments, and if so which might be the most practical and effective to support both the employee and the business.
We have been providing employers and employees with information, guidance and assistance to find the right adjustments for many years. It is our experience that identifying the specific aspects of work that create a barrier for the employee as a result of their health condition and suggesting appropriate adjustments to remove the barrier are key to identifying practical and effective solutions. Unfortunately, this information is often missed in generic reports about an employee’s fitness to work, and suggestions for adjustments too broad or vague, such as ‘lighter duties’. Too often generalised discussions fail to look at the details of the job or workplace in order to enable employers to consider what might be reasonable adjustments in conversation with their employee.
Have a look at the questions you are asking when seeking help with adjustments. Think about whether anyone has taken the time to analyse the specifics of an employee’s job with a view to identifying exactly what it is that might need adapting. Consider whether there has been a collaborative discussion between the line manager, employee and HR about how to problem solve issues that arise from such a constructive discussion.
It is our view that the above approach helps everyone to find the unique solutions that can work for all in any given situations. Call us to find out how we at RA-CIC can help.
You have a long-term health condition: this might have visible effects or cause hidden impairments. It might be something you have had for a long time or may have developed more recently. Your health condition may be fairly static, or your symptoms and ability to fulfil the demands of your job might fluctuate, improve or decline over time. Your health and ability to do your job might be something you are willing to talk about or it might be something you prefer not to disclose. You know you can do your job with some support and want to do your job to the best of your ability, but what obligation is there on your employer to provide this support? What do you need to do to get that support? How might you ask? Indeed, how might your employer react to such a request?
We know that these are the kind of dilemmas employees with health conditions and disabilities face every day. Any employee who has a disability in terms of the Equality Act 2010 is entitled to request reasonable adjustments at work, and under these conditions an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments. If the employer does not consider adjustments to be reasonable, they have a responsibility to inform you why. That’s why making practical requests that meet employee needs in the context of business demands is so important and what we at RA-CIC specialise in.
Often people with long term health conditions do not realise that they have a ‘disability’ in terms of the Equality Act. The government itself estimates that at least 5.5 million people may be covered by the definition. That means protection under the Equality Act, if the employer knows or could reasonably be expected to have figured out that their employee has a ‘disability’. Knowing that we should have this protection is often the first step in deciding how to approach the situation with our employer.
The Equality Act 2010 has a special definition of disability that covers a very wide range of diagnoses and impairments that are not short term and have a significant impact on employees’ day to day activities (that is the everyday, ordinary things that we all do in our day to day life). If you want to know more about the definition of disability there is excellent guidance available and we are happy to share this with you. This sets out who is likely to be covered – including the conditions automatically considered to be disabilities under the act, and how to review circumstances accurately in the context of treatment or use of aids and adaptations. However, our experience has shown that many employers want to do the right thing without getting overly focused on legal definitions, and we pride ourselves on providing practical and effective advice and support. Call us to find out how we at RA-CIC can help.