1 The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust CONTINUING IN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYEES WITH A DISABILITY December 2000
2 CONTINUING IN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYEES WITH A DISABILITY PURPOSE This policy is written to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and furthers the Trust s commitment to Equal Opportunities in Employment for people with a disability. It applies to employees who meet the definition of this Act and become permanently unable to continue in their normal contractual duties. It does not apply to employees who, for any other reason, are not able to continue in their current role. The act requires employers to make reasonable changes to the workplace and to employment arrangements so that a disabled person is not at any substantial disadvantage compared to a nondisabled person. Failure to make such changes (or to justify why such changes are not made) amounts to unlawful discrimination. INTRODUCTION The Trust recognises the need to support employees who become unable, through disability, to continue their contractual duties. The Trust also wishes to avoid the loss to the service of skill, knowledge and experience. Circumstances where redeployment may be appropriate occur where, under the definition of the Disability Discrimination Act, the employee, either through an accident or illness has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities. The redeployment may involve the employee either: reducing their working hours altering their working hours (eg later start and finish times) undertaking limited duties undertaking a different job moving to a different environment Prior to discussing redeployment, consideration should be first given to whether introducing reasonable modification/aids/adaptations, would be feasible and enable the employee to continue in his/her existing role. Redeployment is one of many options available to employees who, because of a disability, become permanently unable to continue in their employment. Other alternatives are detailed in the final section of this document. GENERAL PRINCIPLES Every effort will be made to enable employees who become permanently disabled, to continue in employment. Where employees are unable to carry out their normal duties for a short term, managers should refer to the Rehabilitation Policy. Redeployment options will only be pursued with the employee s consent.
3 All requests for redeployment should be dealt with sensitively and must involve the Occupational Health Department and Human Resources Department. An employee who becomes permanently disabled will be considered for vacancies before they are advertised. Employees must meet the personal specification for the job or reasonable be expected to meet the requirements following a period of training. Where possible support will be given to provide training for alternative employment within the Trust. PROCEDURE 1. Circumstances where redeployment may be considered occur where the employee becomes unable to continue in their present role due to having a permanent disability. 2. A request to be considered for redeployment may be made by the employee or alternatively, this may be suggested as an option by either the individual s manager or Human Resources Department. 3. The employee and manager should discuss the matter with the Human Resources Department who will both explain the procedure and the effect changing post or hours will have on pay and other terms and conditions of service and seek advice from the Occupational Health Department to ascertain the nature of duties/working patterns the individual is able to undertake. In normal circumstances, pay will be protected in accordance with the Hospital s Policy on Pay Protection. In addition the Human Resources Department will make sure the employee is aware of the full range of options available to him/her which may be preferred alternatives to redeployment. 4. Following advice from the Occupational Health Department that redeployment would be suitable, the manager and Human Resources Advisor/Manager will identify with the employee the type of alternative work/working patterns he/she is able to undertake. (NB in the event of the Occupational Health Department not recommending redeployment, the employee will continue to be supported by their manager and the Human Resources Department in identifying other suitable options). 5. The manager will determine the availability of suitable alternative employment/alteration of duties/working patterns, with their work area. 6. Every effort will be made to accommodate the employee within their existing area of employment. Where this cannot be arranged, eg due to no suitable vacancies, the employee will be advised and given the opportunity to be considered for suitable employment elsewhere within the Trust. 7. In such events this will be undertaken by the Human Resources Department who will liaise with other departments. 8. Where suitable alternative employment is identified, the employee (if meeting the personal specification), will be interviewed by the manager of the department where the vacancy exists together with a Human Resources representative. 9. Any offer of alternative employment will be subject to final confirmation from the Occupational Health Department that the post is suitable to the employee and that he/she will be able to undertake the role without detriment to his/her health.
4 10. Any alternative arrangements are made on the basis that the employee is able to competently carry out the duties of the post on a regular basis. In the event of any difficulties, eg continued high levels of sickness/absence, the manager should immediately raise any concerns with the Human Resources Department in order that the arrangements may be reviewed. 11. Where there are concerns by the employee regarding the suitability of the redeployment, the individual may undertake the new role for a trial period of one month. Should this not prove satisfactory, he/she will retain their employment rights for their contractual post. ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT All employees who wish to be redeployed within the Trust should be referred to the Occupational Health Department by the Human Resources Department. The Occupational Health Department will initially assess the individual to determine the range of employment he/she is able to undertake and will inform the employee s manager and the Human Resources Department. Where alternative employment has been found the Occupational Health Department will reassess the employee to ascertain whether the new post is suitable and will enable the employee to attend work without detriment and on a regular basis. ROLE OF THE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT The Human Resources Department will provide advice to managers and employees on redeployment opportunities and the effect on terms and conditions of service. The Human Resources Department will also: identify the range of suitable employment opportunities available within the Trust and notify current vacancies to the employee. ensure that all suitable vacancies are not advertised until the employee requesting redeployment is given consideration and will therefore liaise with the departments concerned. work closely with the local Disabled Employment Adviser, particularly in determining modifications/aids/adaptations to the working environment. ensure that the employee is aware of all options (other than redeployment) that are available. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE The employee will receive Terms and Conditions of Service applicable to the new role he/she is undertaking.
5 TIMESCALE To avoid employees entering a no pay situation following the expiry of their sick leave entitlement, discussions regarding redeployment should take place as early as possible. Every effort will be made to redeploy the individual prior to the expiry of their sick pay entitlement. MONITORING The Human Resources Department will monitor the number of employees who request redeployment against those who are offered/accept alternative work arrangements. ALTERNATIVES TO REDEPLOYMENT The Trust appreciates there may be occasions where options other than redeployment need to be available such as where the employee does not wish to pursue alternative employment or where alternative employment is not available to meet the employee s skills and expertise. In such cases managers should ensure the employee is referred to the Human Resources Department who will: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Provide support and advice to the individual Identify whether the employee is eligible to apply for an Ill Health Retirement pension, Where the employee is not eligible for an Ill Health Retirement pension, explain the procedure if the employee is medically unable to continue work (i.e dismissal on the grounds of incapacity). Refer the employee (at his/her request) to the local Disability Rehabilitation Officer. Arrange counselling where appropriate. Staff are encouraged to seek Trade Union advice at the earliest opportunity. Staff will also be entitled to be accompanied to any meetings by a Trade Union official or a friend acting in a nonofficial capacity.