What reasonable adjustments could an employer consider if it employs a member of staff with a disability that fluctuates?

If an employee has a condition that fluctuates, for example multiple sclerosis or depression, the employer should discuss with the employee what adjustments might be reasonable to avoid any disadvantage.

There may be ways of adjusting the employee's working practices, to take account of the fact that the condition may affect him or her more on some days than on others. For example, the employer might consider looking at output based on a month rather than on a daily or weekly basis, for the purpose of targets and bonuses. The employee might have more energy at certain times of the day and therefore be more productive at these times, so working patterns could be adjusted so that the individual attends work when his or her energy levels are greatest. Alternatively, if energy levels are difficult to predict, where the nature of the business permits, the employer could agree to allow the employee flexibility over when he or she works his or her hours.

If it is practicable for the employee to work from home, the parties could agree a balance between office and homeworking. This could involve the employee working from home on a regular basis, or as and when required due to the effects of his or her condition. The employer could consider requests to work flexibly on a temporary basis, rather than a request necessarily resulting in a permanent change to the employee's contract.

The employer and employee should explore together what adjustments would be most effective, with input from occupational health where appropriate, and keep records of the decisions reached.