Guidance for Line Managers

This guidance is to provide a line manager with some information about reasonable adjustments and help them and a member of staff with either a disability or long term health condition to complete an Individual Adjustments Plan.

The online Disability Awareness module is mandatory for all staff, therefore if you have not completed this please arrange to do so via the LMS.

Legally, a member of staff does not have to disclose their disability or long-term health condition nor do they have to provide a medical diagnosis. It is seen as good practice for line managers to work with members of staff to arrange reasonable adjustments to support them.

The discussion about whether or not a member of staff may need adjustments could take place at: a 1:1 meeting, catch up meeting, induction session, annual performance review or following a return to work after sickness absence.

Things to consider when discussing adjustments:

  • Look at the way the member of staff works. For example, different start and finish times, flexible working.
  • Does the physical environment need to be changed? For example, a single person office for a quieter working environment, wider doors for wheelchair access.
  • Would additional equipment be helpful? For example, an ergonomic desk and/or chair, wireless mouse and keyboard.
  • Does the member of staff require assistive technology? For example, speech to text software to reduce the need for typing, text reading software.
  • See the suggested questions to guide the discussions with the member of staff.

Things to consider when determining what constitutes 'reasonable'.

What is reasonable will need to be considered on a case by case basis as it will depend on the situation. Therefore line managers will need to consider carefully if the adjustment will: remove or reduce the disadvantage for the disabled person, is practical to make,is affordable by the employer or business, could harm the health and safety of others.

The cost should not be the deciding factor as to whether an adjustment is reasonable or not, especially within larger organisations however, it should be noted that some reasonable adjustments cost less than £100 and others nothing at all. If a line manager has concerns about the cost of reasonable adjustments they should contact their HR Adviser.

Members of staff can apply for funding through the Access to Work scheme. See further information in the Department of Work and Pensions presentation on Access to Work.

The Individual Adjustment Plan should be reviewed regularly with the member of staff to take into account any changes in their health or circumstances. This may mean updating the adjustments originally listed in the plan.

Examples of reasonable adjustments:

Someone with an eye condition who finds it difficult to work under strip lighting.

Check if the workstation can be located near to natural light, provide a desk lamp, ask Estates if the strip lighting above the workstation can be turned off.

Member of staff with a back condition.

Purchase a standing desk and a specialist chair. You may also need to provide the same furniture for them to work at home if they are hybrid working. If their preference is to work in the office the majority of the time, the desk and chair could be allocated for their sole occupancy.

Member of staff who has a neurodivergent condition who finds a noise and bright work environment distracting and also hot desking difficult.

Allow them to work from home where they can regulate their working environment. When working on campus, if possible, provide them with a single occupancy office, where the door can be closed and the lighting adjusted. This could be booked out for them when they work on campus.

Member of staff with a fluctuating physical or mental health condition (here are some examples, MS, chronic fatigue, depression)

Allow them to work from home so they can manage their condition more easily and be flexible about the day they work on campus.

It should be noted that under the Equality Act 2010 employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments when they know, or could reasonably be expected to know, someone is disabled.

If you require further information and guidance, please contact your HR Adviser.