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Reasonable adjustment temporary or permanent?

Nick Singer

28 August 2018

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on all employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate the needs of their disabled employees and any disabled job applicants

The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies to three separate requirements:

1. To make adjusting the way things are done.

This refers to any provision, criterion or practice which may place a disabled employee or job applicant at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who does not have a disability. These cover all aspects of employment, for example, recruitment and selection; promotion; training; retention, including sickness absence policies.

2. By making adjusting to physical features of the workplace.

In some cases, it may be necessary to make some adjustments to overcome barriers created by the physical features of the workplace. This includes any physical feature which puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with a non-disabled person.

3. To provide extra equipment.

The Equality Act 2010 refers to this as an auxiliary aid or an auxiliary service. This requirement means taking reasonable steps to provide an auxiliary aid where the absence of such an aid would place the disabled employee at a substantial disadvantage when compared with persons who are not disabled.
The following list is a few possible examples of reasonable adjustment which could be made to support a disabled an individual’s disability.

Please note that reasonable adjustments can potentially be implemented on a temporary, occasional or a permanent basis.

• Modifying instructions or processes, e.g. providing them in Braille or large print or coloured paper;
• Providing additional or tailored training, coaching or mentoring;
• Adjusting and altering working hours, maybe flexible start or finish time, or more frequent rest breaks or part-time working;
• Changing the place of work, maybe working from home part of the week;
• Providing special equipment or software;
• Providing a reader or interpreter, e.g. for someone who is deaf;
• Changing the method of doing the job or adjusting the duties of the job;
• Extending an individual’s probationary period or changing the sickness absence policy if the person has had periods of disability-related sickness;

Video Transcript

Hi there, reasonable adjustments in the workplace are they permanent and can they be removed? now this is a question I put to employment barrister Nick Singer and he'll explain.

Yes, I always advise employers and employees to keep reasonable adjustments under constant review, some disabilities are fluctuating some of them get worse and get better, so it should just keeping an eye on it sometimes things get better and the employee doesn't need it, which is great for everyone in the business but sometimes things get worse and you may have to actually re-adjust them.

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