Press release 26 July 2022.
Employers currently voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, however the Government has consulted on making this mandatory, with the outcome due imminently. Employers need to be ready for this change, and play their part in closing the disability employment gap within their own business, says GRiD, the industry body for group risk.
Employers have been increasingly prioritising the health and wellbeing of their people, but this needs to go further, with more focus on supporting those with long-term health conditions and disabilities to enter and stay in the business.
The number of disabled people in employment
The Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the number of disabled people in employment by one million by 2027 has been achieved five years early: latest ONS figures show that between Q1, 2017 and Q1, 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3 million1.
Overall, 4.8 million disabled people were employed in Q1 20221. However, in practice this means that only 54% of people with disabilities are employed, compared with 82% of people without disabilities2.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “The fact that the target to employ more people with a disability was achieved five years early could indicate it wasn’t ambitious enough. More is likely to be expected of employers, and they’ll need to deliver.”
What employers need to do
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments3 to support disabled job applicants and employees. This includes ensuring they can overcome substantial disadvantages in applying for, or doing, a job and progressing in work.
Many adjustments are easy to implement, and may cost little or nothing. This might include making changes to working patterns, providing parking, ensuring information is accessible, modifying recruitment processes or by allowing extra time for tests and assessments.
Employees themselves can get financial support through Access to Work4 for extra costs they have at work because of their disability or long-term health condition. This might include adapting equipment to make it easier to use or money for travel costs if they can’t use public transport, etc.
Benefits to employers
Ensuring employees are aware of available support not only helps businesses hire disabled people with the skills they need, but it also helps them retain employees who develop a long-term health condition or disability while in employment. This keeps skills and knowledge in the business, saving time and expense in recruitment.
Vitally, this also sends a clear message to other staff, that the business takes the health and wellbeing of their workforce seriously – and this has great benefits to wider business objectives.
Katharine Moxham continued: “This will be a new area for many companies, but it comes with a huge benefit: it opens up a previously unconsidered pool of highly motivated candidates offering the talent, skills and potential that all businesses need, particularly right now in this time of high employment.”
Utilise employee benefits effectively
Employers will find a great deal of help within their employee benefits package that supports employees already in work who develop a long-term health condition or disability, and GRiD is encouraging all to investigate what’s available.
Katharine Moxham concluded: “For example, group income protection policies provide long-term sick pay, and they also include access to help from vocational rehabilitation specialists, along with advice and support on making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. And it’s not unusual for insurers to help with extra costs to keep someone in work on an ex gratia basis, such as providing equipment.”
Employers need to be aware of what they need to do to meet the likely changes in reporting. The government’s Disability Confident scheme5 is a good place to start, which is designed to help employers consider how to improve how they attract, recruit and retain workers with a disability or long-term health condition.
- Ends -
Notes to editors
How the disability employment gap is calculated
The disability employment gap is calculated by comparing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who are in employment. In Q1 2022, the disability employment gap was 28.2 percentage points - a decrease of 0.2 percentage points on the year, and an overall decrease of 5.6 percentage points since the same quarter in 2014.1
For further information please contact:
SMUK Marketing and PR
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Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508
Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Paul White (head of technical, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.
GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry's standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.
GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees.
GRiD's dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues.
Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham