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4As: Provide ACCOMMODATIONS to Employees

A variety of tools and resources exist to help employers support and accommodate their employees with mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

Employer can provide employees with reasonable accommodations and workplace supports, such as adjustments or modifications, to enable people with disabilities, including mental health conditions, to perform job essential functions effectively and efficiently. Below are some resources to help employers support and accommodate employees with mental health conditions. 

Resources to Help Employers Support and Accommodate Employees with Mental Health Conditions

The Job Accommodation Network's (JAN) Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Impairments toolkit shares information and tips on how to support people with mental health conditions at work. JAN explains that people with mental health conditions may develop some of the limitations discussed in the toolkit, but seldom develop all of them. It is important to consider whether or how those limitations affect the employee and their job performance. The toolkit includes example situations and solutions and links to publications, articles, and external resources. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy's (ODEP) “Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities” webpage offers general background and sample workplace modifications.

Accommodations that have proved effective in helping employees with mental health conditions perform their jobs include:

  • Flexible workplaces: Offering options for telecommuting and/or working from home.
  • Flexible scheduling: Offering 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: Allowing sick leave for mental health reasons, 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: Allowing breaks according to individual needs rather than a fixed schedule, allowing more frequent breaks and/or greater flexibility in scheduling breaks, providing backup coverage during breaks, providing telephone breaks during work hours to call center professionals, etc.
  • Other policies: Allowing beverages and/or food at workstations, if necessary, to mitigate the side effects of medications, providing on-site job coaches, etc.

Employees with Long COVID

Employees with Long COVID may experience significant mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, and brain fog. Long COVID affects each employee differently and employers should strive to provide personalized reasonable accommodations. Open communication between employers and employees will help make sure needs are addressed. While medical professionals may find it difficult to diagnose Long COVID, employers should strive to effectively accommodate impairments and conditions in ways that help keep employees at work. The guide, Long COVID: Assessing and Managing Workforce Impact, offers information, guidance, and insight for employers on providing accommodations for Long COVID. ODEP also created a fact sheet, Working with Long COVID (PDF), with information for employers and workers with Long COVID who wish to return to or remain at work.

Featured Mental Health Resources

Resources to Help Employers Support and Accommodate Employees with Substance Use Disorders