What is disproportionate burden?

Employers do not have to provide appropriate measures for employees or job-seekers with disabilities if that would place a disproportionate burden on them.

Providing an appropriate measure might be considered a disproportionate burden, depending on:

  • the financial cost
  • other costs, such as staff time, impact on productivity or the disruption involved
  • the size and financial resources of the employer.

Example Installing a lift so that an employee who uses a wheelchair can access their workplace is an appropriate measure.  Doing that might be a disproportionate burden to a very small business, although it might not be a disproportionate burden to a big company.

Employers must provide appropriate measures.  Public funding, grants and other help is available in some circumstances.  If an employer does not provide an appropriate measure, it is up to them to prove that providing the appropriate measure would be a disproportionate burden.

Example A small business wants to install a life so that an employee who uses a wheelchair can access their workplace, but they cannot afford to do so.  They apply for a Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant which enables them to provide the appropriate measure.

Many appropriate measures cost nothing, for example, flexible work hours.

There are many kinds of grants available which can help employers to provide appropriate measures.  The Employers Disability Information Service provides advice and information on employing staff with disabilities.