New Guidance for Supporting Employees with Disabilities and Long-term Health Issues

January 5, 2023
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Statistics show that despite record high levels of employment in the UK currently there is still a significant disability employment gap and disabled people are twice as likely to fall out of work once gaining work.

The HSE has published new guidance to help employers support their disabled staff and those with long-term health conditions. The guidance is primarily aimed at small and medium sized businesses and was developed with cooperation and advice from various charities, unions and business representatives.

The new guidance emphasises a series of changes that should occur in workplaces in order to make them more accessible for disabled people. A large part of the guidance encourages the development of a supportive workplace culture and environment as well ensuring that there is full and effective communication between employers and their employees. This means ensuring that managers empathise with their employees, particularly through discussing employees needs and barriers in relation to their health issues or disabilities. Additionally workplace practices should be consistent and clear and accessible to employees when applied. Managers and workers should be supported to challenge poor behaviours and discriminatory practices.

Further guidance points to employers providing the same opportunities for everyone who works for them. This includes ensuring the recruitment is not discriminatory, that work conditions are acceptable for all employees, that job retention is not discriminatory (not choosing to lay off disabled employees prior to non-disabled employees simply for this reason) and ensuring that fair development is provided for all employees.

Finally the guidance explains the importance of providing occupational health services, helping disabled employees and employees with long term health issues through periods of absence from work and plans for returning to work.

The HSE underline that overall the guidance provides employers with an understanding of what initial steps they should take to support their employees.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.