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How can my employer help?

Under the Equality Act 2010, someone who has “a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability of an employee to carry out normal day-to-day activities” – including a long-term fluctuating condition - is defined as disabled.

Under this Act, your employer should make what’s known formally as reasonable adjustments – to the workplace and to working practices – so that you (as a disabled employee or job applicant) are not at a disadvantage.

Reasonable adjustments might include the following:

Changes to the working environment, including:

  • providing a quiet area where you can rest without being disturbed
  • permission to use an allocated parking space near to the entrance of the building
  • altering the type of lighting or the location of your workstation if you are light or noise sensitive
  • giving as much notice as possible of any disruption to your working environment or routine

Workload adjustments, which may mean:

  • re-assigning tasks to another member of staff on a temporary or permanent basis.

Flexible hours and time keeping, including:

  • changing your working hours to avoid rush-hour travel
  • working flexi or reduced hours
  • working from home if possible
  • having a fixed shift, where shift-work is involved
  • taking longer or more frequent breaks away from your desk/ computer/ workstation
  • attending medical appointments during working hours if required.

Regular review meetings to:

  • discuss whether your workload and hours are sustainable
  • keep up-to-date with what your team is working on; this is particularly important if you are working reduced hours.

Support from an occupational health professional to help you:

  • manage work alongside your symptoms
  • improve your chances of staying in work if you are able to.

If you are part of a big organisation, they may already have access to an occupational therapist.

Top tips

If you have cognitive problems, find out if it is possible for you to get a summary of meetings you may miss due to reduced hours.

Is there any other information you must have, that you may miss out on if your hours are reduced or you are off sick? Can someone ensure that you get it?

It is important to get decisions made about your role and income in writing.

Keep a brief, dated record of any discussions about changes to your job, support offered, review meetings and return to work.

It is very important to find out from the start if there would there be any changes to your pay or benefits if your role changes or your workload is reduced.

Access to Work

Advice and financial help may be available through the Access to Work Programme. Find out more at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Once you are in work, if you have to take prolonged sickness absence, you may have to arrange a phased return to work.