Under the Equality Act 2010, as under the Disability Discrimination Act, employers should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the workplace and to working practices or arrangements, so that a disabled employee or job applicant is not at a disadvantage.
NHS Plus’ evidence-based guidance for employers, Occupational aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, says reasonable adjustments may include measures such as: changing locations of work, working from home, modifying work hours, reducing workloads, reducing physical tasks, making provision for a wheelchair, flexibility in working patterns.”
For people with mild or moderate M.E., the earlier such adjustments are made, the easier it will be for them to remain productive.
Potential changes to physical features, eg. making premises wheelchair accessible or providing practical aids and equipment to help the disabled person do their job, may be funded through the Access to Work Programme.
What should you do next?
1. Discuss the following with the person with M.E.
2. Liaise with your occupational health department or contractor.
3. Contact your local Access to Work centre or the Disability Adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus office for advice.
If you discuss changes that may affect your employee’s income, they must be explained clearly from the outset.