Labour Research November 2016

Law Queries

Pay and reasonable adjustments

Q. If, as a reasonable adjustment, a disabled employee has been moved to a lower-paid role, does the employer have to keep paying the disabled employee their previous salary?

A. Possibly. This will depend on the particular situation. A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case (G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell UKEAT/0243/15/RN) established that in some such circumstances, employers will have to protect the employee’s salary.

Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee when there is a “provision, criterion or practice” which puts the disabled employee at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. Moving a disabled employee to a different role is an accepted potentially reasonable adjustment. 

The G4S case has confirmed that where the new role is paid at a lower rate than the old role, maintaining pay at the higher rate is also a potentially reasonable adjustment. The EAT found that G4S has significant financial resources and could therefore afford the additional cost. 

However, indefinite pay protection will not always be reasonable and any future change in the circumstances of the business would also need to be taken into account.