Employing Disabled People and those with long term health conditions.
There can be good business reasons for encouraging applications from disabled people or those with a long term health condition.
- It can increase the number and available choice of high quality applicants.
- Most people with an impairment can work alongside other colleagues with no – or very little – special assistance. Some people may need an adjustment to their working environment or working practices, but these are not necessarily expensive or complicated; and there may be financial or support based assistance available.
- Some of these adjustments can also bring benefits for other employees and customers, such as using wheelchair access ramps (easier for parents with toddlers using pushchairs), handrails on steep steps or simply promoting a company as an equal opportunities employer.
- It is nearly always more cost effective to retain an experienced, skilled employee who has become ill or disabled, than to recruit and train new staff given the costs involved. It is also good for the individual.
- It can bring additional useful skills to the business, such as the ability to use Sign Language
- Some employers have found disabled employees stay in the job for longer, and have a strong commitment to work as well as good punctuality and low rates of absence. Equally some individuals can make a valued contribution to the work place by being prepared to carry out essential but perhaps routine and/or repetitive tasks very well.
- It can help create a workforce that reflects the diverse range of contacts the business has and the community in which it is based. This may can also help increase the number of customers with impairments using an employer’s service and improve staff morale, since they will view the organisation as more representative and diverse.
- Under certain circumstances, it can be lawful for an employer to treat a disabled person more favourably in comparison to a non-disabled person. The new “positive action provisions” of the 2010 Equality Act mean that an employer may recruit or promote a candidate who is of equal merit to another candidate, if he or she reasonably thinks the candidate: has a “protected characteristic” such as disability, that is underrepresented in the workforce; or that people with that characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic.
- Adopting good practice and complying with the duties and requirements of the Equality Act raises a profile as a good employer and reduces the risk of litigation.
The Disability Confident scheme is designed to help recruit and retain disabled people and people with health conditions for their skills and talent.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published comprehensive information about disability and employment.
The RNIB has published a comprehensive guide to vocational rehabilitation, that is, helping someone with a health problem to stay at, return to, or remain in work.