23 April 2024

LSA welcomes the publication of a new guide to help businesses boost disabled people’s prospects at work

The Department for Work and Pensions, in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), released the guide on 9 April 2024 which can be found at Employing disabled people: Disability Confident and CIPD manager’s guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The guide is a key component of the Government’s Back to Work program, which seeks to help disabled people, including those with long-term illness to overcome barriers to employment. The program is part of a broader initiative to support disabled people who are able to work unlock and enjoy the many social, health, and financial benefits that come with having a job. The guide aims to provide managers with a quick and easy reference tool to apply in everyday practices to recruit, retain and foster the progression of disabled individuals and those with health conditions in the workplace.

Proactively recruiting and  supporting disabled employees can benefit organisations by adding diverse perspectives and skills to improve innovation and performance. It’s essential that managers understand their role in the organisation’s framework for managing and supporting disabled people  and those with health conditions .The guide advises on how disclosing health conditions or disabilities can benefit both the employee and the employer. A trust-based management style is essential  to empower someone to discuss their condition and receive the support they need. This approach will also help to develop an open and inclusive culture based on respect.

The guide touches on language, behaviour and tips on what phrases to avoid, which could be seen as inappropriate, and emphasises the need to always be respectful.

The guidance provides legal definitions and responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 along with links to useful resources. It also offers a top tips list and a chapter on reasonable adjustments, including the employer’s legal responsibilities, simple explanations, and examples of reasonable adjustments that can be made in the workplace. The guidance also advises where employers can seek financial assistance, such as Access to Work funding.

The document offers specific advice on dealing with sickness absence and tips on how to deal with specific disabilities such as long-term COVID-19, mental health, learning difficulties, and neurodiversity.

In summary, the guide is an easy-to-follow resource enabling collaboration and improving disabled people’s accessibility to work. Throughout the guidance, it is evident that mutual understanding, open culture and the importance of reasonable adjustments beyond just physical alterations are all key steps in creating a respectful and accessible workplace that values the skills and abilities of disabled employees.

Karolina Dziedzic
Trainee Solicitor