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The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) places a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to obtain and keep employment. What constitutes a reasonable adjustment is judged by how far it deals with the disability, the cost of the adjustment, the resources of the employer and the availability of assistance or specialist help. These are some guidelines to consider when providing the right support for people experiencing mental ill health.

1) Work Adjustments

  • allowing more frequent breaks
  • allowing workers to allocate their break time according to their own needs, rather than by a pre-determined schedule
  • allowing workers to shift schedules earlier or later
  • allowing workers to take a prolonged lunch break to attend a support meeting
  • allowing workers to use paid or unpaid leave for appointments related to their health
  • allowing an employee to work part-time temporarily (e.g. when first returning from absence)
  • arranging for job sharing
  • re-assigning tasks among workers
  • re-assignment to a vacant position

2) Environment adjustments

  • providing an enclosed office
  • providing partitions, room dividers, or otherwise enhancing soundproofing and visual barriers between workspaces
  • offering a reserved parking space (e.g. to workers with phobias or anxiety disorders)
  • blocking noise (e.g. by reducing the pitch or volume of telephone rings) increasing personal space
  • positioning the worker as far away as possible from noisy machinery

4) Using the existing work policies

  • extending additional paid or unpaid leave during a hospitalisation or other absence
  • allowing additional time for workers to reach performance milestones
  • extending the probationary period
  • allowing an employee to make phone calls during the day to personal or professional supports providing private space in which to make such phone calls
  • providing a private space for employee to talk with an identified mentor or buddy
  • allowing an employee to work at home
  • allowing workers to consume fluids at their work stations throughout the work day whilst maintaining health and safety (e.g. if needed due to medication side effects)

5) Providing Assistance

  • allowing a vocational specialist advisor to come to the work site
  • participating in meetings with the worker and his or her vocational advisor or other employment service provider

6) Providing Technological Assistance

  • providing software that allows the worker to structure time and receive prompts throughout the workday
  • providing a personal computer to enable an employee to work at home or at unusual hours

7) Special Supervisory Considerations

  • offering additional supervisory sessions
  • offering additional training or instruction on new procedures or information
  • offering information and training in the worker's preferred mode (verbally, visually, written or practical)
  • ensuring the supervisor or other appropriate person is available throughout the work day

8) Other adjustments

  • offering specialised training to help employees advance and achieve promotions
  • modifying a job description to suit an employee's unique talents
  • training supervisors to customise their management style
  • mental health awareness training/education for supervisors and co-workers
  • assigning a co-worker to act as "buddy" or “mentor"
  • establishing incentives for co-workers to become 'buddies’ or ‘mentors’

Source: Bob Grove et al, IAHSP King’s College London

 

Funding for some of the above may be available through Access to Work - contact the nearest Jobcentre Plus office for more details.

There's lots of very helpful information for employers, employees and job applicants on the Disability Rights Commission's website (www.drc-gb.org.uk) and from the Dept for Work & Pensions (www.gov.uk), ACAS (www.acas.org.uk)) Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) and the Rethink website have produced valuable resources about stress at work, health and employment, related legislation and good practice.

  • mental health awareness training/education for supervisors and co-workers
  • assigning a co-worker to act as "buddy" or “mentor"
  • establishing incentives for co-workers to become 'buddies’ or  ‘mentors’

Source: Bob Grove et al, IAHSP King’s College London

Funding for some of the above may be available through Access to Work - contact the nearest Jobcentre Plus office for more details.

There's lots of very helpful information for employers, employees and job applicants on the Disability Rights Commission's website (www.drc-gb.org.uk) and from the Dept for Work & Pensions (www.gov.uk), ACAS (www.acas.org.uk) Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) and the Rethink website have produced valuable resources about stress at work, health and employment, related legislation and good practice.

 

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