Supporting an unwell employee

Employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for a member of staff who has disclosed that they have a mental health problem, or other disability, because they want the protection of the Equality Act. Typically, when it comes to mental health problems, these are small, inexpensive changes, such as more regular catch-ups with managers to help manage workload, change of workspace, working hours, or breaks.

  • Schedule one-on-one time with the employee on a regular basis. This time can be used to discuss work performance and to enquire about their wellbeing. People who are unwell will feel more supported to be open about their illness
  • Encourage appropriate use of sick leave entitlements
  • Reallocate workload where possible.  Could you spread tasks throughout the team to allow the person to work flexible hours or take time off for any appointments? Could you relieve them from particularly stressful tasks such as out-of-hours work or busy evening surgeries?
  • Providing a quiet, private and secure place for a person to take any medication or to be alone if they need to can be very helpful
  • With the employee’s express permission, you may request medical reports or advice from their medical team
  • Consider restriction of unsupervised access to dangerous drugs at times of high risk to minimise opportunities to remove them from the workplace for self-administration