Employers wait 18 months for disability guide

The government has been criticised for leaving employers in the dark over managing staff with learning difficulties, after a guidance report was buried for 18 months.

The government-commissioned report, which makes 42 recommendations on improving employment prospects for people with learning difficulties, was due to be published last year.

But no reference had been made  to it on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health websites more than a year after the guidelines were issued.

The government’s Welfare Reform Bill, which outlined its policy on supporting disabled people back into work, also made no reference to the report when it was published last month.

The guidelines were eventually published on the Valuing People Support Team’s website earlier this month.

David Congdon, head of policy and work for disability charity Mencap and a working group member, told Personnel Today’s sister publication Community Care that there was no reason why the guidelines should not have been released 18 months ago. He said the group had received no feedback from either government department, and claimed the report was just “gathering dust”.

The report said a “worrying” number of employers, especially local authorities and those in the voluntary sector, were defying National Minimum Wage (NMW) rules by under-paying staff with learning disabilities. It also warned that organisations faced the threat of costly employment tribunals if they failed to apply the NMW.

A DWP spokesman said the report was being considered as part of the government’s work on employment support for disabled people.

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