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What can you do for me? - A guide to reasonable adjustments


What are reasonable adjustments?

Congratulations, you’ve dreamed of working in TV for years and now you’ve finally got your foot through the door. But now comes the question - how does my disability fit into all of that?

This is where reasonable adjustments come in. Reasonable adjustments are an employers’ legal responsibility under The Equality Act 2010. You may have not heard of this term before but put simply, these are changes made in order for a disabled person to have equal access to their job.

The changes can include the way you work (such as adjusted working hours, how you communicate with others) equipment, tools or software you use (such as alternative formats, a wrist support for your keyboard) and the environment (like working next to a window with natural light, moving the desk layout so your wheelchair can navigate the office).

As you’ll see from the examples I’ve given above, these are practical changes which reduce barriers, create an equal playing field, and are a reasonable cost for your employer to provide.

What are my reasonable adjustments?

Here are some questions you could ask yourself to figure out reasonable adjustments:

  • What tasks are involved in my work and where will I find barriers?
  • What adjustments have I had before? This might be in education or at previous employment
  • When do I do my best work? How can I replicate that at work?

Remember that your access needs or adjustments may be different to someone else, even if you both have the same diagnosis so it isn’t always going to be helpful to compare. However, if you are new to the industry - or your disability - it might be useful to hear about what has worked for others. There are various peer networks you can join such as Deaf & Disabled People in TV or The Neurodiverse Media Community.

How do I ask for them?

Unfortunately our industry doesn’t have the same formal hiring practices as you might find in other types of workplaces, so often it is the disabled person who has to initiate the conversation on reasonable adjustments. You don’t need to discuss your adjustments until a contract is agreed, however having the conversation as soon as possible will mean that your access needs and adjustments can be put into place quickly.

There are no strict rules on how to provide this information to your employer and it will depend on what you feel comfortable doing. You may like to put this in an email to the person who is issuing your contract (this could be the talent manager team, a series producer or production manager), or you could arrange a meeting with them when you start your contract.

If you’re reading this I am going to assume you’re disabled - so you know just as well as I do that your health, needs and also awareness of what support you might need can change over time. Therefore, your adjustments may also change and adapt over time too. As a freelancer there have been contracts where I’ve never asked for adjustments, some I’ve asked from the beginning, and other times when I’ve had to ask part way through. You should feel able to discuss changes with your company or line manager at any time during your contract.

Access to Work

Do you have access needs that don't come under a ‘reasonable adjustment’? Then you should consider making an Access to Work claim. Access to Work provides financial support for disabled people Examples of what Access to Work can provide are:

  • Additional transport costs if taxis are needed to get to work
  • Equipment or software necessary for access
  • Sign language interpreters

Access to Work suits the freelance world of TV as it is the individual who submits an Access to Work claim, and it then comes with you from contract to contract - rather than having to apply every time you start at a different company. Access to Work will complete an assessment to ascertain the support the individual needs.

Access to Work cannot be claimed until you have a contract in place, which can often be a challenge when working short contracts. If you think you would benefit from Access to Work speak with your employer about whether they can assist in getting a contract in place.


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