Pillar 2: Provide ACCOMMODATIONS to Employees
The essence of the guidance in this pillar is to provide employees with reasonable accommodations and other workplace supports—in other words, adjustments or modifications that enable people with disabilities, including mental health conditions, to perform the essential functions of a job efficiently and productively.
A variety of tools and resources exist to help employers support and accommodate their employees with mental health conditions. Among them are the following:
JAN’s Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Impairments
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) receives numerous accommodation questions related to helping individuals with mental health impairments work successfully.
In its toolkit, Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Impairments, JAN explains that people with mental health impairments may develop some of the limitations referenced in the tool, but seldom develop all of them. What’s important is to consider is the limitations the employee is experiencing and whether/how those limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance.
JAN’s toolkit features example situations and solutions organized by limitation and by work-related function. It also links to publications, articles and external resources.
Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy offers a helpful webpage titled “Maximizing Productivity: Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities.” In addition to general background and sample workplace modifications, it outlines several accommodations that have proved effective in helping employees with psychiatric disabilities more effectively perform their jobs, including the following:
- Flexible Workplaces– Telecommuting and/or working from home.
- Scheduling– Part-time work hours, job sharing, adjustments in the start or end of work hours, compensation time and/or “make up” of missed time.
- Leave– Sick leave for reasons related to mental health, flexible use of vacation time, additional unpaid or administrative leave for treatment or recovery, leaves of absence and/or use of occasional leave (a few hours at a time) for therapy and other related appointments.
- Breaks– Breaks according to individual needs rather than a fixed schedule, more frequent breaks and/or greater flexibility in scheduling breaks, provision of backup coverage during breaks, and telephone breaks during work hours to call professionals and others needed for support.
- Other Policies– Beverages and/or food permitted at workstations, if necessary, to mitigate the side effects of medications, on-site job coaches.
The tool explains that the above list does not include all possible accommodations, “but it is a good starting point and provides some of the most effective and frequently used workplace accommodations.” (Source: “Maximizing Productivity: Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities,” U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy)