Disabled employee

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton has urged large employers to build more inclusive workforces by calling on large companies to disclose how many disabled staff they employ.

With almost one in five working-age people living with a disability or health condition, the Government has announced a new framework to encourage companies to report how many staff have a disability, as part of its drive to build a more inclusive society.

The framework follows the Government’s Access to Work Scheme, which enables companies that employ those with a disability or health condition to gain access to funds to be used for assistive technology to make work accessible.

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According to the Department for Disabled People, Health and Work, the voluntary framework was created in partnership with employers and charities and will also call on businesses to set out how they are currently supporting their disabled employees.

Prime Minister Theresa May commented: “I am committed to creating a society where we empower disabled people, celebrate their talents, and enable them to achieve their hopes for the future.

“And we’ve taken steps in the right direction with almost a million more disabled people in work over the last five years, and 10,000 businesses having signed up to the Disability Confident scheme.

“But the disability employment gap is still too wide. I call on employers in every sector to take an honest look at how many disabled people they employ.”

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has confirmed 19 projects will receive a share of the £3.9 million Work and Health Challenge Fund to support disabled people and people with mental health conditions. The successful projects will enable people to stay in work by helping them to manage their conditions themselves and making it easier to access advice and support about what jobs they are most suited to.

The Access to Work scheme and the Work and Health Challenge Fund are the latest in a series of government measures which form part of a 10-year strategy to get one million more disabled people in work by 2027.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton said: “Our voluntary reporting framework builds on our longstanding commitment to companies to help them in supporting their staff at all levels to create more inclusive workforces as we set out to achieve our ambition of one million more disabled people in work by 2027.

Welcoming the announcement, Scope Director of Policy and Research Anna Bird said: “This is a watershed moment – we will only be able to tackle disability unemployment if we understand the scale of the problem.

“We frequently hear from disabled people about difficulties they face – from negative attitudes and inaccessible recruitment processes, to inflexible workplaces and difficulties getting adjustments.

“Data on disability is crucial for employers to understand what action they need to take to recruit and retain disabled people.

“The government must ensure that this information shapes future approaches to increasing disability employment. This will be vital in realising the ambition to get one million more disabled people into work by 2027.”

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