The TUC and the GMB union have launched an effort to prevent disabled people from leaving their jobs because of employers’ failure to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
Last year, according to a TUC analysis of government figures, 391,000 (one in 10) disabled people dropped out of work in the UK while another 555,000 started work with a new employer (one in seven disabled people).
One of the preventable reasons which causes disabled people to quit their jobs is when employers fail to carry out their legal duty to make – and maintain – the reasonable adjustments their disabled staff need.
To help disabled people continue with their jobs, the TUC and the GMB have produced a model reasonable adjustments employer agreement, for union representatives 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.
The TUC said these adjustments could include providing specially adapted equipment (like 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 idea is for the passport to be signed by everyone. The document should be reviewed by HR at regular intervals and means disabled people don’t have to explain their requirements every time their line manager changes, or they change roles within their organisation.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Employers must do more to make the reasonable adjustments they need.
“Disabled workers live with the constant threat of losing their reasonable adjustments every time their boss or job changes.
She added that the TUC and the GMB’s passport was 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 pointed out that it had been the law for employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers for almost a quarter of a century.
He added: “Yet many can face a daily battle with bosses just for the basic things they need to do their job. This means stress and misery for them and their families – and can lead to poverty, hardship and unemployment when they feel forced out of their jobs; disabled workers are twice as likely to drop out of work than non-disabled workers.”
But the reasonable adjustment disability passport, he said, could help improve the drop-out rate. “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.”
Read more about Reasonable Adjustments Disability Passports