Disability policies do not go far enough, survey finds

UK
employers are failing to introduce innovative, multi-disciplinary approaches to
managing disability at work, a new survey claims.

The
IRS 2001 Managing Disability at Work Survey, which questioned more than 200
employers, finds that companies’ disability policies have become static with
few going beyond the basic administrative requirement.

The
report suggests that this failure to act will eventually damage recruitment and
retention as well as alienating customers.

IRS
researcher Peter McGeer said that if companies fail to become more responsible
then the workplace would experience little change.

"If
substantial numbers of disabled people have any chance of attaining the goal of
independence through employment, there needs to be more responsibility
sharing," he said.

"There
is a real danger that poor policy will mean that we will look back in 10 years
only to observe that nothing has changed."

The
poll shows that only 45 per cent of respondents have made use of government
funding and just 40 per cent monitor the number of disabled job applicants.

However,
the report highlights the pivotal role of HR, with 80 per cent of respondents
forging ahead with the development of new policies.

Nearly
70 per cent of employers questioned also feel that changes they have made have
had a positive impact on the ability to remove barriers to the disabled.

By Ross Wigham

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