What does 'reasonable adjustment' mean?

The Equality Act says employers must make 'reasonable adjustments' to your working conditions. This obligation includes not just physical working conditions, but also contractual and non-contractual terms and policies, such as those relating to recruitment, discipline or sickness absence.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published guidance on the Equality Act 2010, including guidance about the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Typical adjustments made by employers include:

  • allowing the disabled person to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or medical treatment;
  • acquiring or modifying equipment;
  • altering the disabled person's working hours;
  • transferring the disabled person to fill an existing vacancy;
  • adjustments to premises, such as improving access;
  • allocating some of the disabled person's duties to another person;
  • assigning the disabled person to a different place of work;
  • giving the disabled person training;
  • providing a reader or interpreter;
  • providing support workers; and
  • modifying instructions and reference manuals.

Under the Equality Act, the employer must also provide 'auxiliary aids' to disabled members of staff. Although not defined, these are likely to include, for example, specialist computer software, a hearing loop or a specially designed chair. Funding and advice on practical support is available to employers through the Access to Work scheme.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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