News & Views
Employment Law Update – new ACAS Guidance on Reasonable Adjustments for Mental Health at Work – April 2023
ACAS has launched new guidance in April 2023 resources to support both employers and employees in conjunction with Affinity Health at Work.
Reasonable Adjustments for Mental Health - Guidelines (frontify.com)
The guidance covers:
- What reasonable adjustments for mental health are;
- Examples of reasonable adjustments for mental health;
- Requesting reasonable adjustments for mental health;
- Responding to reasonable adjustments for mental health requests;
- Managing employees with reasonable adjustments for mental health;
- Reviewing policies with mental health in mind.
The legal duty to make reasonable adjustments
Where an employee has a disability, as defined by the Equality Act 2010, employers are under a duty to make adjustments to accommodate their needs.
This applies whenever a disabled person is placed at a substantial disadvantage by a provision, criterion or practice imposed by the employer or by a physical feature of the employer’s premises.
In such cases, the employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to avoid that disadvantage.
Some people might not recognise or consider their mental health condition as a disability, but it is important that employers are aware that, under the Equality Act, it could be.
Schools HR would also advise against employers viewing this duty narrowly and schools should manage each case on its own merits, putting in place supportive measures as needed.
“Disability” is defined in the Equality Act as a mental or physical impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Employers’ obligations to make reasonable adjustments therefore apply equally to employees experiencing mental health conditions as for employees with a physical disability.
ACAS Guidance is not legally binding. However, employment tribunals do refer to ACAS as a benchmark of good practice.
The employment tribunal will consider whether an employer has acted reasonably and fairly in the circumstances and whether reasonable adjustments have been adequately made or considered
This information is not intended as definitive advice.
Please liaise with your designated Schools HR Business Partner for advice and guidance on individual cases.