Policies and Procedures

Disability In The Workplace

UK Law and Disability In The Workplace

This article covers Disability In The Workplace. There are several laws in place for the protection of disabled or vulnerable people in the UK:

The Equality Act 2010

Looking at the most recent, under the Equality Act (2010), an individual is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment. This must have a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effects on their ability to do normal activities.

People with ‘progressive conditions’ can also be classed as disabled.

The Equality Act (2010) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people when at work.

As a result, this means that employers are held accountable, by law, for their treatment of an individual with a disability.

Discrimination Under Disability In The Workplace

It is an unlawful act if an employer treats an able-bodied person better or differently than they would a disabled person who may be at a disadvantage in the same situation. Discrimination of disabilities also include, but are not limited to:

  • Terms and conditions of the workplaces.
  • Benefits and Pay.
  • Opportunities for promotion
  • Performance review(s).
  • The handling of absences.
  • Training and Development.
  • Termination of Employment.

What Are Reasonable Adjustments?

Employers have a ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’ by law, this means to remove barriers faced at work for disabled employees.

Simply put, if there are policies, procedures or physical barriers putting someone with a disability at a disadvantage, an employer must take reasonable steps to remove the disadvantage.

Employer Requirements

This duty also means the employer may have to provide equipment to help remove such barriers.

However, the employer only has to provide ‘reasonable’ adjustments, this includes:

  • In reference to the employers’ resources.
  • Ability to meet the cost involved.
  • The impact on others or on their business.
  • Whether or not the adjustments have a prospect of being effective once implemented.

Funding Initiatives

There are some funding initiatives in place to aid with getting individuals into employment and supporting disabled individuals already in employment.

Also, there is some funding towards steps that are outside the realms of ‘reasonable’ for an employer to meet, as discussed below.

The Access to Work scheme

This is a scheme designed to help disabled people, whether physically or mentally disabled, stay in employment. It is for disabled people who can work including.

  • People who have a paid employment.
  • People who are about to start/return to a job.

This scheme is available to help meet the needs of the individual that require more than ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be made in order to continue in employment.

Access to work grants can pay for special equipment, support workers or other adaptations. As well as help getting to and from their place of employment.

Intensive Personalised Employment Support

IPES is one to one support and training offered to help disabled people to work. This support is available if you are:

  • Unemployed.
  • Between school leaving age and state pension age.
  • A UK resident in England and Wales.
  • Have a disability or health condition that affects the work you can do.

This allows for a support worker to help you for 15 months whilst pursuing employment and an additional 6 months within a workplace.

This support allows you to:

  • Identify what work you’re able to do.
  • Match your skills to work that’s available.
  • Get training to help you find work.

Work and Health Programme

This programme is not solely for disabled people, but for vulnerable and disadvantaged people in general. It is however beneficial to disabled people this programme:

  • Identifies employment needs
  • Matches skills to jobs.
  • Puts individuals in touch with employers.
  • Assists finding long term employment.
  • Helps individual get training
  • Assists with managing health problems to reduce their impact on work.

How We Can Help

If you would like assistance writing your internal policies on disability in the workplace, please contact us.

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+44 1244 342 618

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