Workplace adjustment passport guidance
The Passport is owned by the member of staff who requires workplace adjustments. However, the Passport is to be completed by the individual member of staff and their line manager. Both have responsibility for implementing the agreed workplace adjustments set out in the Passport.
A meeting will need to be arranged to discuss the Passport and workplace adjustments. The meeting should be simple and straightforward. Keep the focus on what will help to reduce barriers and increase inclusion, performance, and opportunities. Think broadly and remember a workplace adjustment can be anything and need not be permanent - we have some examples of workplace adjustments.
Workplace Adjustment guidance accordion
Step 1 - In advance of the meeting
Either the member of staff or the line manager can instigate the Passport process.
- If your line manager has instigated the Passport process, this is a good sign. It shows they are proactive in exploring workplace adjustments to enable you to be your best.
- You may need to instigate the conversation about discussing using a Passport. This shows you are managing your condition or situation and should be viewed positively.
- Remember this is your document. There are no obligations on what you must include. Therefore give prior consideration to what would be helpful to share in relation to your role and your effectiveness.
- Decide in advance what you are comfortable sharing. Consider what you want to say. Ideally, you will complete part one of the Passport ahead of the meeting. You may even want to share part one with your line manager in advance of the meeting to give them thinking time.
- Ensure the meeting date gives you sufficient time to prepare. Also, ensure it is held at a time when you are likely to be at your best. For example, in the morning if your energy levels drop in the afternoon, or in the afternoon if you are in less pain or can focus better due to the effects of your medication.
- Let your team know the Passport exists and share the purpose. Invite anyone who may want to know more or start the process to contact you.
- Reassure all employees that your intentions are positive and that the College believes providing workplace adjustments helps to create a barrier-free workplace. You could say, “I am looking forward to hearing about your situation and working together on your Passport, to provide workplace adjustments to support your effectiveness”.
- Consider if your staff member may benefit from being accompanied by a union rep or advocate. This is more likely in cases where they are currently away from work or returning to work, following an absence.
- Has the employee been seen by Occupational Health or a professional with relevant expertise? If so, their report/recommendations may be helpful to include as part of the Passport.
- If specialist advice is likely to be helpful you may want to suggest an appointment is made with Occupational Health or a professional with relevant expertise before the meeting, or following the meeting, whichever you both decide is best.
- Set a meeting time that allows a few days for preparation, or if applicable enough time to arrange accompaniment.
Step 2 - At the meeting
Regardless of how well you know each other, approach this meeting as an opportunity to start from scratch.
- It is natural that you may feel daunted or defensive when you have a meeting about issues personal to you. Remember, the intention is to agree on Workplace Adjustments so you can work at your best. Treat this as a work-related meeting.
- There may be a tendency to look to your manager to have the answers. Line managers don’t have all the answers and be glad when they don’t assume they do. It is advisable to collaborate on this together.
- It is recommended you are open to questions. When asked respectfully, questions from your manager should be seen as a positive.
- Don’t be rushed. If you are unsure about an element of the agreement, or how the completed Passport will be used then ask for additional time to look over it. You can always consult your union.
- If there is something you want to keep private, or you know you find sensitive, let your manager know at the outset. You could say, “I find it difficult talking about ... I want us to avoid that please”.
If it becomes relevant you could say, “I want us to arrange another meeting, so I have time to prepare”.
- You have legal rights and the College has an obligation to explore and implement Workplace Adjustments where reasonable.
- You have valuable skills and experience. It is to the College’s advantage to keep you and invest in your effectiveness.
- You are more likely to have a deeper knowledge of your condition/situation, so come up with solutions where you can.
- Explain what the Passport’s purpose is and that today is about completing it together.
- Listen to what your staff member tells you. Set aside what you know, or think you know, about their condition or situation. Your role is to learn about your employee and see if together you can reach an agreement that benefits them, your department, and the College.
Here are some things to cover to make your member of staff feel reassured:
- Ownership – the Passport belongs to them.
- Confidentiality – where the document will be kept and who has access to it.
- Concerns – Make sure your employee has an opportunity to highlight things that may be worrying them about the meeting. They may also worry about the wider implications of completing the Passport. Ask, ”What would make you feel better about that?”
- Own Expert – say something like “I am not here to make assumptions today; I am looking forward to learning from you about how your condition/situation affects your working life. I may need to ask questions to understand your situation, is that OK?”
- Language - everyone has different ways of referring to their circumstances. It is good practice to use the preferred terms of your team member. Say something like “When we are talking, please let me know if you have a preferred way of referring to your health issue/situation that I should use.”
- You may want to make notes of key things as your employee talks. If so let them know that these are to refer to when you both complete the Passport. Remember, any notes you make should be treated as sensitive information.
- Invite your employee to explain in their own words. You should mostly listen. Your input should largely be to prompt (if required) or for clarification.
- It may be helpful to repeat back to the staff member. You could say, “You said that you often get fatigued in the afternoon, what would help to reduce this?”
- Include your knowledge of what is possible, but remember it is okay to say you are unsure and will find out.
- It may be helpful to seek a third party for advice. For example, a condition-specific charity, a union representative, or the EDI Centre. You should seek additional guidance with the knowledge and permission of the employee.
- Think broadly about what workplace adjustments are possible. Read through examples of workplace adjustments for ideas, and discuss the suitability of physical and non-physical adjustments.
Step 3 - Signing off the Passport
This is where all the discussion so far is boiled down to what is practicable, reasonable in the circumstances, and likely to be effective. Detail clearly each adjustment and who will do what if any actions are needed.
Staff member and Line manager
- Set a future review date. This is a good opportunity to check the progress of implementing workplace adjustments and follow up as required. It is also a chance to assess how effective workplace adjustments are once in place. It should be reviewed at least annually. Workplace adjustments are linked to performance so reviewing it as part of the Annual Review Conversation (ARC) is recommended.
- If adjustments aren’t working then they can be removed and other options should be considered.
- Both the employee and line manager need to sign and date the Passport as a record of agreed workplace adjustments and actions.
- Rembmer, the Passport belongs to the employee. However, researching and implementing workplace adjustments is a joint responsibility.
Guidance for writing your Passport
While this is your Passport, it is recommended you write it with the reader in mind. Part 1 is about you, but you are completing it so the reader (primarily your line manager) can sufficiently understand your situation and what you require from them. Consider only including medical information if it is relevant.
Here are some general tips for completing Part 1 (Personal Details) of the Passport:
- Keep it concise (no more than one page).
- Keep it relevant to work, unless issues outside work are relevant.
- Think about the language you use to describe your impairment or health condition or the issues you face. It’s often best to use neutral or positive, rather than negative, language.
- What emotions do you want the reader to feel? Most people want the reader to see them as a professional and therefore adopt a professional tone.
Question specific guidance
1) Briefly describe your condition(s)/or situation which requires you to need workplace adjustments.
This should be the shortest of the three responses you give in this section.
- Avoid making too many medical references. Keep it simple and provide explanations for any unavoidable medical terminology.
- If you have more than one condition or situation, you may not need to include them all. Share which conditions or situation impacts you the most at work and which you require adjustments for. They may not all need equal focus.
- Consider that you may want to share here any spin-off conditions, for example, ‘I get fatigued due to my health condition.’ Or ‘My role as a carer can lead me to have occasional episodes of depression.’
2) What impact does this have on you in the workplace?
This section needs a bit more information.
- Share specific ways your condition(s) or situation impacts you at work, giving relevant examples to your role. For example, ‘The effects of the medication for my gender reassignment makes me less focused towards the end of the day’. Or ‘My dyslexia means I take longer to write our monthly report’.
- Avoid talking in general terms about your impairment, health condition, or situation. Be specific and keep it relevant to you.
3) What support do you need from your Line Manager, team and or stakeholders to enable you to work efficiently?
You should give the most detail here.
- Make positive, not negative, requests. So, rather than ‘I don’t want hard copies of the handouts’, say ‘I need the handouts sent electronically in advance’.
- Consider linking the request to working at your best. For example, ‘I need a quiet, distraction-free space to work efficiently’.
- Share briefly why you need the request, ‘I require a height-adjustable desk so I can manage my back pain’.
- You may want to reference previous workplace adjustments such as, ‘I appreciate the continuation of our agreement that I can start early and take a shorter lunch break during Ramadan’. Or ‘I appreciate the later start time as it helps me to manage my morning routine for dealing with Crohn’s.’
- Your line manager’s role is barrier removal. Share what you need from them in order to reduce or remove barriers you face.
- Make it really clear and easy for managers to understand what you need from them to support your effectiveness.