You won’t hear this on the news, but a couple of events taking place this month show how important disability employment is at the moment.
Disabled people still face a broad range of barriers to work – however a renewed focus on disability employment across government, the charity sector and employers, could give us reason to be hopeful.
The employment gap
Employment is an important aspect of living independently for many disabled people. While more people are working in the UK than ever before, just 46.7 per cent of disabled people are in work. This puts the disability employment gap at 34 per cent. It has hovered around this level for the last ten years.
Scope’s analysis shows that nine in 10 disabled people have worked, but only half are in work now.
Employer attitudes, inaccessible workplaces and a lack of accessible transport remain significant barriers. Other barriers include lack of effective support to enable people to enter or get back into work, and employers and disabled people not knowing about schemes such as Access to Work which pay for additional adjustments some disabled people need in the workplace, such as screen readers or taxis.
Time for change
Clearly, there is a real need for a new approach. Recent announcements from Government could indicate steps are being taken in the right direction. Scope has been campaigning for parties to commit to halving the disability employment gap. Last year, the new government took on this goal, which will mean supporting 1 million disabled people in to work.
The Work and Pensions Select Committee has just launched an inquiry in to the disability employment gap. This marks an opportunity to review support available, explore alternative options for support and hold the Government to account on their commitment to bring about real change. We will submit evidence to this inquiry, ensuring the Committee’s recommendations to Government are informed by the real experiences of disabled people.
This morning, I’m meeting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to hear about their proposals for employment support for disabled people.
Later this year, the Government will also publish a White Paper on disability, health and employment.
We are calling for:
- Employment support that is specialist, and tailored to individual needs
- Investment in schemes like Access to Work
- Employers to offer flexible, modern workplaces
Tell us about your experiences
Are you a disabled person looking for work?
Or, if you are working:
- Have you asked your employer for a workplace adjustment?
- Have you used the Access to Work scheme?
We would love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org