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Employment: Disability

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that employers meet their obligations to provide reasonable adjustments to the workplace to ensure that people with hidden or invisible condition are able to (a) access and (b) stay in employment.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The Government is committed to protecting people with disabilities in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 places obligations on employers in relation to disabled employees and job applicants, including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments. However, the legislation recognises the need to strike a balance between the needs of disabled people and the interests of employers. What is ‘reasonable’ will vary from one situation to another. This is because factors like the practicability of making the adjustment, the cost of the adjustment and the resources available to a business, will vary from one situation to another. Although employers may in some cases make anticipatory adjustments, many will be at the request of the employee, including those where the disability may not be obvious or may be entirely hidden.

The government runs Access to Work, a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that offers up to £59,200 funding per year for in-work support for people whose disability or health condition affects the way they do their job. The scheme is designed to offer support above the level of employers’ statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010, as well as providing advice to employers on in work support available for their employees which could include reasonable adjustments.

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