New initiative to better support disabled workers

Date: 27 February 2019

Young man in wheelchair at workplace

The TUC and the GMB have introduced a "model passport" to make sure disabled people have the support they need to flourish at work.

The passports are intended to help disabled workers get the necessary adjustments and support they need. According to TUC data, almost one million disabled people fall out of work or switch employers each year to get the support they need. One in ten (391,000) disabled people dropped out of work in the UK last year and a further 555,000 started work with a new employer.

While there are many reasons for disabled people to leave their jobs, the TUC and GMB have found that one preventable reason is when employers fail to carry out their legal duty to make - and keep in place - the reasonable adjustments their disabled staff need to do their jobs.

The two organisations have produced a "model reasonable adjustments employer agreement" for union reps to agree with their employer, and a "template reasonable adjustments passport" to capture what adjustments have been put in place to eliminate barriers in the workplace.

These adjustments could include: providing specially adapted equipment such as a chair, desk or computer; temporarily changing the duties of the job; changing break times or working patterns; or allowing flexible working or time off for medical appointments.

When the adjustments are agreed, the passport is signed by everyone. The document can be reviewed at regular intervals and means disabled people don't have to explain their requirements every time their line manager changes or if they change roles within their organisation.

Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said: "Disabled people face many barriers when it comes to finding good, rewarding jobs. Employers must do more to make the reasonable adjustments they need.

"The TUC and the GMB's passport is an ideal place to officially and clearly record what adjustments have been agreed, so disabled workers aren't going back to the starting line every time they get a new manager or role."

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: "It's been law for employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers for almost a quarter of a century. Yet many can face a daily battle with bosses just for the basic things they need to do their job.

"But our new reasonable adjustment disability passport could tackle that - no matter where they work or who their boss is, this document will support the reasonable adjustments a disabled worker is legally entitled to. It's a short policy that could improve the lives of millions of workers."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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