Under the Equality Act 2012 (EA) an employer has certain duties to make ‘reasonable adjustments’. This is to ensure that a disabled person is not put at a substantial disadvantage by the employment arrangements or by any physical feature of the workplace or learning environment
If the physical features of the working or recruitment arrangements are the prohibiting factor to a disabled person gaining or staying in employment, then the employer must make reasonable adjustments to remove these barriers. The employer must also ensure a disabled candidate is not put at a substantial disadvantage by recruitment procedures or that a disabled employee is not disadvantaged by employment arrangements or by any feature of the workplace.
Reasonable adjustments must be implemented from first advertisement of a position, throughout the recruitment process and during working life up to and including departure or dismissal procedures. Examples of reasonable adjustments for people in employment may include:
- Making adjustments to premises
- Allocating some of a disabled employee’s work to someone else (reallocation of work)
- Transferring a disabled employee to another post or another place of work
- Flexibility about a disabled employee’s hours – allowing the disabled employee to have different core working hours and to be away from the office for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment
- Providing (accessible) training
- Providing modified equipment
- Making instructions and manuals more accessible
- Providing a reader or interpreter
- Extra time for specified tasks e.g.for considering information and reporting
At interview, it is reasonable to expect an employer to provide any tests in an appropriate format provided this has been requested in advance of the event and not just on the day itself. Remember an employer may be very happy to provide adjustments so you can perform to the best of your potential but you cannot expect them to be mindreaders and you should also note that some adjustments may take time to implement. Please speak to Viki Chinn at LSE Careers if you have questions about your specific needs.
Many reasonable adjustments can be implemented in the workplace without much expenditure, for example, giving verbal rather than written instructions (or vice versa) or allowing extra time for written work. If additional costs are to be incurred, you can apply for funding through the government’s Access to Work scheme.
Access to Work (ATW) – Funding for reasonable adjustments
The Access to Work scheme will pay for most adjustments that are required once a person is in paid employment. However please note that the only adjustments they will pay for at interview stage are those involving communication support.
It is important to submit an application for ATW support as soon as you have accepted a job offer as it can take some time for the adjustments to be sourced and implemented in the work place. An independent assessor will meet with you to discuss your role and assess your working environment and they will then be able to advise on the types of support available that will meet your individual needs.
ATW will pay up to 100% of costs for adjustments when the claim is made within the first 6 weeks of Employment.
If your claim is made after the first 6 weeks of employment ATW will usually pay up to 80% of costs and expect your employer to contribute the rest.
What type of help can be provided through Access to Work?
ATW can help in a number of ways. For example, it can help pay for:
- Communicator support at interview (CSI) which meets the full cost of hiring an interpreter to remove barriers to communication at interview; It is worth noting that this is the only type of support ATW will pay for at interview stage
- A support worker, thus allowing the individual to use the services of a helper. Types of support might include reading to a visually impaired person, communicating for a hearing impaired person via sign language or alternative methods(other than at interview which is covered by CSI), providing specialist coaching for a person with learning difficulties or helping a person with care needs
- Special aids equipment to help a disabled person function in the work place;
- Adaptation to premises or to existing equipment
- Help with the additional costs of travel to, or in, work for people who are unable to use public transport