If you’re making changes to a disabled employee’s role as a result of reasonable adjustments, a recent case has confirmed that you are unlikely to have to maintain their pay if the new role attracts a lower salary.
A teacher suffered from mental ill-health that amounted to a disability meaning she was unable to teach. She moved to a ‘cover supervisor’ role which had a lower rate of pay – her pay was eventually reduced to the appropriate level. She claimed her pay should have been maintained at a higher rate as a reasonable adjustment.
The decision confirms that protecting higher pay is unlikely to be a reasonable adjustment, supporting employers with the flexibility to pay the appropriate rate for the role being performed. Don’t forget though that you should inform the employee that you will be reducing their pay, explaining why you consider paying them more than the role attracts is not considered to be a reasonable adjustment (and keep a record of the conversation).
It’s worth considering a run-in period if the role changes quickly (where you maintain the higher salary for a short period) to allow the employee time to plan for a reduced salary. Make clear that the higher level of salary will only be maintained for a short period and at your discretion.
Get in touch if you need to discuss making appropriate reasonable adjustments.