What do you do when you wake up in the morning? There is a good chance that you turn off your alarm, jump out of bed and get ready to face a day of work ahead of you.
A common scene in homes around the UK. However, it is thought that for disabled people this isn’t quite the case. Whilst around 3 million disabled people are thought to be in work, there are still a number who are not working.
This may be because businesses see them as a risky hire, someone who could cause issues by hiring. However, the truth is that many workplaces around the UK could feel huge benefits by taking on disabled workers. Making use of their skills, experience and knowledge.
If you ask them, the majority of those who are disabled want to work. Therefore, there is a real drive needed to ensure that we facilitate this and halve the working gap that is seen in disabled people throughout the country.
We have put together our guide to the ways that businesses can change the statistics on disabled workers and create a cohesive working environment for those who are disabled and those who are not disabled.
Providing a flexible working environment
One of the biggest issues that face disabled workers is how their employer views their use of sick leave and also how their working pattern is calculated.
When it comes to living and working with a disability, there is a good chance that some disabled people will need to manage changes that occur. This could be due to a condition that can change on a week to week basis, or to recover from any necessary treatment.
Often, disabled workers will want to remain working, even during these times. However, at present, this is not the normal approach meaning that they have to use sick leave instead. This has resulted in disabled people now accounting for around 60% of those who are on long term sick leave.
This is not the ideal approach. Rather than using sick leave, it is suggested that disabled people can remain in full time work, but simply adjust their working pattern during times of treatment, recovery or at times when their condition is affecting them.
It would be seen as adjustment leave and would allow them to take the time they need and work a part time schedule as they need to. This would not only allow them to continue to work as much as they can, but would have a huge benefit to employers too.
Access to jobs
It is no secret that employment has taken a hard hit over the past few years. Something that people around the UK have been feeling the effect of. No more so than disabled people.
The jobs that have been created of late seem to be targeted towards the top end of their own individual sectors, meaning that they are harder to secure. Disabled people are under-represented in these types of roles and many of them that are employed are in jobs that may not be as secure.
Something needs to be done to change this, giving disabled people access to a variety of different roles across sectors and opening the access they have to jobs.
Support whilst they are working
With changes to the welfare state in place, more and more disabled people are expected to be working, however, there doesn’t seem to have been a related change to the support that they can receive.
This isn’t just in finding work, but securing and maintaining that employment too.
Disabled people can benefit hugely from employment support, especially since this support can help them to overcome barriers that they are facing in staying in work. The level that they need can vary greatly from person to person and can also change over time.
Support should be received no matter how their job or workplace changes and should reflect their own needs and conditions.
It could come in the form of support workers, awareness training for other staff members, building modifications, skills training and job coaching. There are a variety of ways that they can receive the support that they need.
By putting these in place we should be able to address the working gap for disabled people and ensure that everyone can access the jobs that they want and make the most of their skills.