Where an employee is unable to continue in their original role due to disability, it may be a reasonable adjustment both to move them to a new role and to maintain their former rate of pay if that is higher than the usual rate for the new role.

The EAT in G4S Cash Solutions (UK) v Powell emphasised that it would not be an everyday event for employers to have to provide long term pay protection, but this would depend on the circumstances. In this case the employee had already had his pay protected for a year and had been led to believe this would continue long-term, and the additional cost was thought to be easily affordable for this employer. The employer's reason for not doing so, namely that it would cause discontent among other employees, was considered "unattractive".

The ruling also confirms that an employer cannot unilaterally impose on an employee an adjustment (such as a move to a lower-paid role) that is incompatible with the terms of the employee's contract.

Employers should therefore consider carefully – and communicate clearly – the rate to be paid for any alternative employment offered as a reasonable adjustment.