Employing Disabled People
Recent studies have shown that disabled people take less time of sick and are more loyal to their employers than their able-bodied counterparts. They have abilities, skills and experience and could bring a fresh perspective your business could benefit from. Sometimes only very minor adjustments are all that are required and adding flexibility to your policies and procedures would probably benefit your existing workforce as well as encouraging many more applicants for you to select from.
Who is disabled?
There are many types of disabled people, not just those who use wheelchairs or guide dogs and you can’t always tell just by looking at someone if they are disabled or not. You could already be employing a disabled person and not even realize it, the person themselves may not choose to describe themselves as disabled.
A "disabled person" is legally defined as someone with "a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". Normal-day-to-day activities this includes:
Mobility – e.g. being able to walk to the local shop
Manual dexterity – e.g. typing
Ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects
Memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand
Perception of the risk of physical danger
Progressive conditions, such as HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis.
For more advise on the definition of disability
Disability Rights Commission: Who is disabled
Advice on employing Disabled people.
You should first contact your local Jobcentre, each has an Disabled Employment Advisor (DEA) who will be able to give you information and advice on recruiting, and training.
Find your local Jobcentre
Jobcentre Plus: Disability Services for Employers
Funding Advice for Employers
There are various schemes operated by Jobcentre Plus;
Access to Work; the aim of this is to overcome any additional problems associated with employing a disabled person. If it is a new disabled employee, it will give you a grant of up to 100% towards any additional costs involved in employing them, for an existing employee, the grant is for 80% of the costs after the £300.
Jobcentre Plus: Access to Work
‘Job Introduction Scheme’; this can give a grant for the fist few weeks of employment to cover training costs and acts as a ‘taster’ for both you and the disabled person to see if the job is right for them.
Jobcentre Plus: Job Introduction Scheme.
WorkStep; which is an individually tailored package of support for employers with disabled employees.
Jobcentre Plus: Workstep.
Work Preparation programme; This helps disabled people try out different types of work arranged through Jobcentre
Jobcentre Plus: Work Preparation.
Since October 2004, it has been against the law for an employer of any size to discriminate against a disabled person because of their disability.
You cannot discriminate against a disabled person:
In the recruitment process
In their terms and conditions of employment
In chances for promotion, transfer, training or other benefits
By dismissing them unfairly
By treating them less fairly than other workers
By subjecting them to harassment.
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled job applicants or staff when a policy or practice or a physical feature of their premises, places the disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments are:
Making adjustments to premises
Altering the person's working hours
Allowing absences during working hours for medical treatment
Giving additional training
Getting special equipment or modifying existing equipment
Changing instructions or reference manuals
Providing additional supervision and/or support.
Disability Right Commission: The Law