Page 1

Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Acknowledgement The TUC acknowledges with thanks the help of Dave Parr, TUC Education at East Riding College, in the development of this workbook.

Foreword3 Disabled people and the employment market


Entering employment Pre-employment health questions Positive action

6 7 7

Disabled people and trade unions Understanding the social model of disability Activity: The social model of disability Union structures for disabled members Activity: Your union’s equality structures Organising disabled workers Workplace activity: Mapping your disabled members Impact accessing trade union activity – making the union accessible Activity: How accessible is your union? Disability Champions@Work


8 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 13 13

Disability and the Equality Act 2010 14 Definition of a ‘disabled person’ under the Act 14 What is ‘prohibited conduct’? 16 16 Direct discrimination Indirect discrimination 16 Discrimination arising from disability 16 Harassment16 The duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ 17 Reasonable?17 Reasonable adjustments is a duty 17 Examples of adjustments 17 23 Negotiating on pensions relating to disability Activity: Disability-related case work 23 Handling disabled members’ problems Raising a grievance Disciplinary cases Demonstrating a failure to make adjustments Disability and absence management Disability discrimination by association or perception Redundancy selection

24 25 26 26 26 27 27

Using available support Access to Work funding How much funding is available? Access to Work contact centres Activity: Access to Work funding The Two Ticks disability symbol Activity: Reviewing Two Ticks

28 28 29 29 30 31 31

Further information


TUC Education contact details



Foreword TUC Education has a strong record in promoting and developing equality in the world of work and within unions. Tackling Racism,Working Women and Out at Work are influential publications, running to several editions, and designed to be used in the training of all workplace representatives. Work has taken place on developing disability champions for some years now and has added to the TUC’s reputation for campaigning and for putting policy into practise. This workbook fills a gap in our provision, enabling TUC Education to follow our work on disability through in the classroom more fully than ever before. Although the position of disabled people in Britain saw significant improvements after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now part of the Equality Act 2010), that progress was brought to a halt with the onset of recession from 2008, and today disabled people are amongst the hardest hit by spending cuts and benefit “reforms�. Trade unions have played an important part in getting employers to remove the obstacles that have prevented too many disabled people getting jobs, keeping them, or progressing their careers, but to do so effectively union representatives need to understand what the barriers are, and how to overcome them. This workbook is written to equip all workplace reps with advice, information and reference points on disability and enables them to negotiate effectively on behalf of disabled members. Please make full use of this workbook, and let Liz Rees ( have any suggestions for amendments for the next edition. Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook


Disabled people and the employment market Despite many years of legislation and campaigning, statistics* show that disabled people still have a long way to go to achieve equality in the workplace. »» There are currently 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work. »» Fewer than half (47 per cent) of disabled people of working age are in work, compared with 75 per cent of non-disabled people. »» Employment rates vary greatly according to the type of impairment a person has; only 20 per cent of people with mental health problems are in employment. »» 23 per cent of disabled people have no qualifications, compared with 9 per cent of non-disabled people. »» More than one in four people of working age (7 million/26 per cent) in Great Britain have a disability. »» The average gross hourly pay for disabled employees is £11.08, compared with £12.30 for non-disabled employees. There is a clear role for trade unions in identifying potential areas of discrimination and making workplaces accessible by breaking down physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers to employment and progression. This TUC publication is intended to give guidance on practical steps that can be taken to achieve these goals and also to widen participation of disabled people in trade union activity. *Data: Labour Force Survey, April-June 2011


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disabled people and the employment market


Pre-employment health questions Disabled people often fail to reach the interview stage of a job application because of assumptions made by employers relating to the applicant’s medical condition. Declaring a condition or high levels of previous sickness absence can also deter people from applying for a post in the first place. Section 60 of the Equality Act 2010 introduces a new provision preventing employers asking about a candidate’s health before a job offer except in some specific cases. This could be, for example, where an employer believes reasonable adjustments will need to be put in place before a person can start work, for reasons of equality monitoring, for reasons of positive action or to establish if a person has a particular disability if having that disability is an ’occupational requirement’ for the job.

Positive action

Entering employment

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are permitted to direct training at and encourage job applications from disabled people if they believe they are underrepresented within their organisation either overall or in specific job levels. The employer must, however, be able to demonstrate that their positive action is a ‘proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim’.

Of the many barriers faced by disabled people seeking work, the actual recruitment and selection process can be one of the biggest. Recognising this, Section 39 of the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against or to victimise disabled people when selecting a person to fill a vacancy. It also makes it unlawful to change the terms and conditions of a post because of a person’s disability. The duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ (see page 17) also applies at the recruitment stage, so providing a reader or interpreter at an interview, for example, could be a requirement. A disabled person does not have to tell a prospective employer about their disability but they could not claim a failure to make an adjustment unless the employer either knew of, or could reasonably have been expected to know of, the condition. For employers holding the Two Ticks disability symbol, there are additional obligations when advertising and interviewing for vacancies that are covered separately later (see page 31).


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Entering employment



The social model of disability Aims This activity will help you: »» explain what is meant by the term ‘social model of disability’ »» give examples of potential barriers to participation »» suggest ways of removing barriers.

Disabled people and trade unions Understanding the social model of disability Legislation in the UK defines disability using a ‘medical model’. The medical model is a definition based upon an individual’s medical condition that affects their ability to carry out certain tasks. This definition implies that the way to resolve a person’s disability is to treat or cure the condition in order to bring about equal access compared with a non-disabled person, placing the problem of lack of access with the disabled person. The ‘social model’ is quite different: it says that it is not medical conditions that cause disability but the interaction of someone’s impairment(s) with the barriers that society puts in place that prevent or hinder people’s access to the built environment, to media, to transport and so on. Remove the barriers and the disability is removed. So what do we mean by barriers? Barriers can be physical or attitudinal and can be imposed deliberately or inadvertently. An easy example is a wheelchair user encountering steps and not being able to get into a building. Provide a ramp or a lift and the barrier is removed; the wheelchair user can access the building just as a person without mobility impairment would. Another example is a visually impaired person being unable to read a story in a newspaper because the print is too small or in a font that made it difficult to read. If the paper were printed in a larger, clearer font there would be no disability issue. The major difference in the two models is that with the social model the potential problems are not the responsibility of the disabled person to solve. It stops disability issues being the disabled person’s fault and transfers the duty on to society to remove barriers and provide access.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Steve and Paula are both making a train journey from Glasgow to London. They are booked on the 8.40am train, which will arrive in London at 3.30pm. They have to make one change of train during the journey during which they will have a 30-minute wait if the trains are on time. Steve is a wheelchair user. He is travelling to spend the weekend with his brother, who is meeting him at the station in London. Paula is travelling on business and stopping in a hotel close to the station. Paula is blind. She uses a long cane and reads Braille. Both travellers have taxis booked for 8am to take them to Glasgow Central Station from their homes.

Task 1 For each of the two travellers, make a list of potential barriers they may encounter from leaving home to arriving at their destinations.

Task 2 For each of these barriers, discuss and note ways that these barriers could be removed. Select the three biggest problems that each traveller could encounter and prepare a report back identifying your potential solutions.

Disabled people and trade unions


Union structures for disabled members The TUC and affiliate trade unions have local, regional and national structures in place to allow the union to develop and progress issues and policies. As well as the core structures of branches, regional councils and so on, most unions have separate structures for equalities. Each year the TUC holds a disabled member’s conference. This conference has the right to submit a motion to annual Congress for debate and to steer TUC national policy on disability issues. Affiliate unions take a variety of approaches depending upon their size and the make-up of the membership. Larger unions generally have regional equality structures that elect delegates to a national committee. There may be a single equality structure or specific committees for disabled members, Black and minority ethnic (BME) members, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members. There are also different rules regarding who can be a delegate to various committees. Some unions require delegates to be elected workplace representatives: others allow any member who has an interest to take part. Some have a strict policy on the numbers of delegates, others take a less regulated approach. The important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to structure a union for equality issues; the way your union structure operates will have evolved over a number of years in a way that is deemed to be most appropriate for your membership.

Organising disabled workers


Your union’s equality structures Aims This activity will help you: »» understand the equality structures in your union »» identify the delegates in your area »» identify potential delegates in your organisation.

Using your union rule book and website, identify the equality structures of your union using the following list as a guide: Yes/no/need to find out Does your union hold an annual or bi-annual conference for disabled members? If yes, is the conference policymaking? Is there a national committee for disabled members?

Once you have an understanding of the union structure, branches need to give consideration to who would be the most appropriate delegates. Here again union rules vary. Some disability structures allow only disabled delegates: others have a target figure, for example 75 per cent disabled membership. Remember that if your organisation elects a delegate to an equality committee and that is their only trade union role they may need support to avoid feeling out of their depth if sitting on a committee with a number of experienced reps.

Does your union hold regional meetings for disabled members?

Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Using your contacts within the union, identify the current delegates to your equality structures.

Task 3 Think about potential delegates within your workplace and make a note of their names. For each, consider their trade union experience and the support they would need from the branch/other reps, what training they would need, and how you would ensure their role was recognised by your employer. Prepare a report back for the rest of the group.

Task 1

It is important for you to understand the structures of your union and you may have to dig a little to get the full picture. Occasionally there are committees, such as a regional disabled members committee, which exist under the union rules but have not actually met for some time or that are not well publicised to potential delegates.


Task 2

If yes, do one or more paid officers of the union or NEC members sit on the committee?

Do all delegates to the committees/meetings above have to be disabled members? Are members of your local organisation/workplace delegates to any of the above committees?

Statistically, more than one in four adults of working age in the UK is disabled. With the disproportionate number of disabled people who are unemployed, the figure for disabled people at work is probably closer to one in seven. That means that for every one hundred people in your workplace, around fifteen of them could be disabled. If you think about your disabled colleagues who first spring to mind, there will almost certainly be far fewer than this. This is because, while some disability is visible, most is not. Examples of such ‘invisible’ conditions can include: »» stress »» depression »» dyslexia »» medical conditions requiring medication for life »» HIV »» cancer »» multiple sclerosis. To carry out a successful mapping exercise you will need to do two things. A   You will need to raise awareness with your members that

conditions such as those above could potentially mean a person is classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010.

B   You need to promote a workplace culture where people feel

that self-identifying as a disabled person is beneficial to them, not a potential threat or risk. In tackling point A it is not necessary to explain the intricacies of the legal definition of disability or to get into the issues of medical and social models. The simplest question to ask is: “Do you consider yourself to be a disabled person?”

Once a membership mapping exercise has been carried out you can then use the information to consider if the make-up of your union team is representative of the proportion of disabled members you have. Point B is much more difficult to address and may involve a major awareness-raising campaign promoting the union’s positive promotion of disability issues and the participation of disabled people in the union’s activities.

Disabled people and trade unions


workplace ACTIVITY

Mapping your disabled members

An impact assessment of trade union activity – making the union accessible It is important that your trade union activities are accessible to all of your members, not simply because you should be looking to set an example to the company but also because as a trade association the union and its representatives have a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010.

Aims This activity will help you: »» plan an awareness-raising campaign on disability issues »» consider the most appropriate method of identifying your disabled members. Using the information from the activity on the previous page as a starting point, meet with other members of your branch or local union organisation and discuss where you feel you are in terms of identifying your disabled members. Consider as your goal being in a position where you have details of all of the disabled members and that you have an active network discussing and progressing issues. »» Is this something you have achieved or are close to achieving, or is it a long way away? »» Do you have a forum for disabled members? If not, is it something that could be of benefit? »» Do you feel the members have a good level of awareness on disability issues? »» Do you feel your organisation has a culture where people would feel confident in declaring a disability? Following your discussion, agree your next steps to making progress. Draw up three action points for the union to work on. These action points should be given timescales and key people to lead on each.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability Champions@Work


How accessible is your union?

Disability Champions@Work started as a project led by Amicus (now part of Unite) funded by the European Year of Disabled People 2003. The idea behind the project was to identify existing trade union activists with specific interest in disability issues and provide them with training and a support network to enable them to operate more effectively.

Aims ‘Impact assessment’ is the name given to the systematic review of an activity or policy to analyse if it has a negative impact on a particular group or if it is less accessible. The process is similar to risk assessment in the health and safety context in that it looks to resolve problems on paper before they occur rather than waiting for an issue to arise.

This activity will help you:

»» assess the work your union organisation

may need to do to comply with legislation

»» suggest ways in which your local

union structures can be better prepared for a request for information in accessible/alternative formats.

Some things you need to consider are:


»» Is the venue accessible for members with mobility impairments including wheelchair users?

»» Are designated parking spaces available close to the venue? »» Are accessible toilet facilities available? »» Are facilities and procedures in place to evacuate people with mobility impairments in case of emergency?

»» Is the venue free from excessive external noise? »» Does the room have a hearing loop or do

Task 1 Talk to other union reps in your workplace about any adjustments that have been made to accommodate members. These could be issues relating to physical access, providing interpreters, information in alternative formats and so on.

Task 2

»» Do you have contact details for sign language interpreters/ lip speakers/stenographers etc. if these are requested? »» Is the paperwork for the meeting accessible? (see below) »» Are facilities available for access dogs?

Look through a selection of union publications produced locally and nationally and compare their layout in relation to the guidance given in the previous section. You may also want to take a look at your union’s website. If you find issues with the publications, write a short report to take to your branch or local committee to discuss your findings.

Publications and paperwork

Task 3

you have access to a portable one?

»» You should either produce or be able to quickly

produce on request all information you distribute in a variety of accessible formats such as large print, Braille and audio. Accessible print would include: ɶɶ Produce information in a clear font such as Arial with a minimum size of 12 point. ɶɶ Do not print text over images. ɶɶ Do not use underlining. ɶɶ Do not use ‘fully justified’ text. ɶɶ Avoid double-sided printing when using standard 80gsm paper. »» Where possible, make documents available in electronic format.

Contact your union’s regional office and ask if it has had requests for reasonable adjustments. Try to find out how it went about meeting the requests. If it has experience of providing services such as producing documents in Braille and booking sign language interpreters, ask for contact details for your potential use in the future.

From the start of the project Amicus was keen to promote this as a role for all trade unions. The original target was to train 50 reps in the first 15 months; there are now more than 1,300 people who have become Champions and taken the training course. By sharing ideas, innovations and information, these people have made excellent progress in their workplaces on behalf of many disabled workers. The course has also seen a number of disabled members become active in the union, initially getting involved as Disability Champions and then taking up additional roles as union reps, safety reps and union learning reps. Following the initial 15 months of the project, the unions worked with cerebral palsy charity Scope to secure additional government funding to continue the development of the role for a total of five years. During that time the training course and associated materials were updated and delivered around the UK, both classroom based and via online learning. By working with the TUC’s Equal project, Disability Champions developed international links particularly with trade unions from Finland and Austria. In 2011 a version of the course was adapted, translated and delivered to a group of trade unionists in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. This was an excellent demonstration of the value of the role; it is not about enforcing legal rights, it is about using trade union values to recognise issues and negotiate solutions to enable full participation and equality of opportunity for all workers. You can find out more about the project and the role at:

Disabled people and trade unions


If a person uses either medication or a physical adaptation such as a prosthetic leg and is therefore able to carry out ‘dayto-day tasks’, they are still classed as disabled as the test is based upon removing the adaptation. Case law is contradictory on this, particularly with reference to conditions controlled by medication such as asthma. Spectacles and contact lenses are specifically excluded from this. People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also protected by the 2010 Act. There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. People with HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis. People with some visual impairments are automatically deemed to be disabled.

Disability and the Equality Act 2010 Definition of a ‘disabled person’ under the Act Under the Equality Act 2010 disability is one of nine “protected characteristics” that are protected from “prohibited conduct” (see page 16). As with the previous legislation, in order to take a claim of disability discrimination to an employment tribunal a person needs to demonstrate that they are disabled according to terms defined within the Act. There is no absolute definition; it is not simply a case that some conditions are classed as disabilities and others are not. The tests and guidance in the Equality Act 2010 have been carried forward from the Disability Discrimination Act along with relevant case law that has helped to clarify some of the issues. The guidance is:

Some conditions are specifically excluded from being covered by the disability definition: »» addictions to nicotine, alcohol, etc. (except due to prescribed drugs) »» tendency to set fires »» tendency to steal »» exhibitionism and voyeurism »» tattoos »» non-medical piercings As a trade union representative, it is important to remember that the vast majority of issues that you take up will not end up in a tribunal. With this in mind, you should not let the details of the definition of disability within law affect your decision about picking up an issue. For example, if a member has had an accident and is experiencing difficulties using a wheelchair because of the workplace layout, this issue still should be addressed even if the person is likely to be using the wheelchair for only three or four months.

A person has a disability if:

»» they have a physical or mental impairment and »» the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.

For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings: »» “Substantial” means more than minor or trivial. Indications of what is substantial can include the time taken to carry out a task or the way the task is carried out (for example, using a computer with a foot-controlled mouse). »» “Long-term” means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (or for the rest of the person’s life if they are not expected to live a further 12 months) »» “Normal day-to-day activities” include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping (but not work).


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability and the Equality Act 2010


What is ‘prohibited conduct’?

Discrimination arising from disability

The duty to make “reasonable adjustments”

Discrimination can occur in a number of different ways. The term used in the Equality Act 2010 for these various wrongful actions is “prohibited conduct”. Employers have an obligation not to allow prohibited conduct to take place, and may face legal claims from anyone who feels they have been discriminated against.

This is another new concept and one that will be very useful in a number of disciplinary and grievance situations. Take, for example, a case where a person is taken into a disciplinary meeting for poor timekeeping; during the investigation it emerges that the reason for this relates to the person’s disability. This situation would not meet the test for direct discrimination as the employer is not unhappy with the person’s disability: they are unhappy with their timekeeping. However, the two issues are linked, therefore the issue arises from the disability. The solution to the timekeeping problem should then be addressed by implementing reasonable adjustments.

The concept of ‘reasonable adjustments’ was introduced into UK legislation by the DDA and has carried forward into the Equality Act 2010. This is a powerful duty requiring employers to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of disabled people in order that they can carry out their job.

Set out below are the different aspects of prohibited conduct as they apply in relation to disability.

Direct discrimination The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) made it unlawful to allow less favourable treatment“on grounds of disability”. This has been reworded. An employer discriminates against an employee in situations where the employee is treated less favourably than others in a similar situation when this is because of a disability. In order to show that there has been discrimination, the employee needs to show a link between disability and the way they were treated. In some cases there may be no evidence that a non-disabled person has been treated differently, but a disabled employee can still challenge treatment by trying to show how their employer would have acted towards another person in that type of situation. In direct discrimination cases there is no opportunity for an employer to attempt to justify their actions.

Indirect discrimination Indirect discrimination is a new concept for disability introduced in the 2010 Act that had previously existed for other areas of equality. Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy or practice that applies to everyone has a particular disadvantage to disabled people. In reality it is unlikely that cases will be taken as indirect discrimination as once an issue is identified then the duty to make reasonable adjustments would be triggered to overcome the barrier. Failure to make these adjustments cannot be justified.

In order to use this route, an employer must either know of, or could reasonably be expected to know of, the person’s disability. The employer can attempt to justify their actions in these cases. Unlike direct discrimination, no comparator has to be identified.

Harassment Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour related to disability that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This could take many forms, from directly and deliberately being offensive, to what some would deem to be humour. Similarly to indirect discrimination, it is likely that a case that could potentially be taken under the harassment route would in actual fact be taken as a direct discrimination case. Harassment of disabled people is widespread throughout society, and has become worse rather than better since the start of the economic downturn, largely as a result of a popular (mis)conception that disabled people on benefits are scroungers – an image promoted by the tabloid press in particular. In September 2011 the Equality and Human Rights Commission published findings of a formal inquiry, Hidden in Plain Sight, demonstrating the extent of the problem, which can be used as evidence. The link to the Inquiry page is:

Negotiating reasonable adjustments can be a big part of the trade union role in supporting disabled members. Ideally this is done proactively as issues are identified but you may also find yourself negotiating solutions to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues. There is funding available to help to pay for adjustments from the Access to Work scheme (see page 28). The Code of Practice (employment) for the Equality Act gives the following examples of reasonable adjustments: »» making adjustments to premises »» allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to another person »» transferring them to fill an existing vacancy »» altering their working hours »» assigning them to a different place of work »» allowing them to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment »» giving them, or arranging for them to be given, training »» acquiring or modifying equipment »» modifying instructions or reference manuals »» modifying procedures for testing or assessment »» providing a reader or interpreter »» providing supervision. These twelve examples suggested in the primary legislation demonstrate the diversity of solutions that can come under this heading and therefore must be considered by employers.

Reasonable? Whenever the word ‘reasonable’ is used in a legal context, the implication is that an employer can justify doing or not doing something because they did not believe it was reasonable and therefore criteria must exist in order that employers, trade unions and tribunals can evaluate that decision. In this context ‘reasonableness’ is determined by: »» the effectiveness of the adjustment »» how practical the proposed adjustment is to implement »» the cost of the proposed adjustment »» the financial resources of the employer.

A deaf riveter was given a portable induction loop and an intercom to communicate with his coworker. The system seemed to work fine until the riveting began; the device not only amplified his colleague’s voice but also the 120dB riveting gun, causing severe discomfort. The working solution was to use a polished stainless steel mirror to enable the two to communicate using a simple sign language. Unite

Reasonable adjustment is a duty When adjustments are made, disabled workers must not be made to feel that their employer has in some way done them a favour and therefore they owe a favour in return. The law places a duty on employers to make adjustments; that is the disabled person’s right and a failure to comply could lead to prosecution.

When I first became a Disability Champion I took some time to talk to my disabled members. One said the company had been very good to him, accommodating his needs relating to mobility impairment and epilepsy by allowing him to be the only worker on flexitime. As our discussion progressed it transpired that any sickness absence he took was deducted hour for hour from his holiday entitlement as HR could not think of a better way to do this! I pointed out to him that this was totally unfair and shortly afterwards resolved the problem. GMB

Examples of adjustments On the following pages are some examples of adjustments that can be made using the twelve sub-headings taken from the DDA. All of the examples quoted have come from Disability Champions around the UK and relate to real cases.

It is essential to keep the disabled person at the centre of the development of potential solutions. Sometimes the person will know from experience exactly what is required: on other occasions they will not. Employers must understand that some solutions seem fine until they are in place and then it turns out that they simply do not work and the process has to start again.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability and the Equality Act 2010


Making adjustments to premises Basic accessibility to your workplace in terms of wheelchair access, signage etc. should almost be taken as a given, particularly if members of the public/service users have access to it but there may well still be issues and further things to consider.

I had access issues that affected my ability to get to work. An access audit was done on the workplace and an electric wheelchair and other equipment put in place; this enables me to still work with my disability. Unison

Specific access assessments for workers with mobility and sensory impairments should be carried out and should consider all aspects of working life, not simply the ability to get to their workstation and carry out their job.

We had a wheelchair user who was unable to access the coffee machine, and was dependent on others for his drinks. I wrote a stiff letter to the facilities manger jolly well giving him a piece of my mind. The office has now been redesigned. Unite

Allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to another person Many jobs today require workers to be skilled in a variety of tasks and to perform a range of different duties. Sometimes a disabled worker can have no difficulties with the majority of the tasks but be unable to complete some aspects without a reasonable adjustment. Allocating those aspects of the job to another worker can provide a very easy solution.

A woman with MS worked in the post room. Her job was to process and sort internal and external mail and to deliver it around the building. Most of the time she could do this but on days when her symptoms were bad she used a wheelchair and could not deliver the mail. A member of staff was assigned the role to do the deliveries on these occasions and the regular post woman stayed and carried out the other jobs required in the post room. PCS

Obviously in these cases the person who picks up the additional task needs to agree but this is often made possible by allocating some of their work to the disabled person.

If you are looking to suggest this as a solution, you will need to talk to the disabled member and give them the opportunity to air any concerns they might have. You may have to look to additional training in order for them to carry out the new role. If the new job is at a lower salary, you may want to suggest the member’s pay is frozen or ‘red circled’, rather than them taking a pay cut.

I struggled to make home visits because my mobility became worse. I was given the duty roll for the team and was also asked to review all the people who had equipment. Unison

A medical records clerk developed a spinal problem. It also transpired that she had dyspraxia. The Trust was trying to oust her via ‘capability’. This was after they had made ‘reasonable adjustments’. After a lot of negotiation, the Trust relocated her to a job on its switchboard. This helped twofold: first, it helped her spinal problem because she didn’t have a lot of bending or lifting to do; and second, the dyspraxia has been helped because she doesn’t have to do so much paperwork. Unison

Transferring them to fill an existing vacancy Look at the suggestions in the section of this publication on making the union accessible for more detail on access issues for you to look out for.

We installed push-pad automatic fire doors along the lower corridors (the old ones were very heavy), lowered key pads and changed door handles. We also installed a lift in the lower dance studio. Bectu

Sometimes, rather than make an adjustment to a job, it is more practical to move the disabled person to another role. In some cases this can quickly provide an ideal solution but there can be many problems. What if the disabled person does not want to change jobs? What if the proposed job is at a lower rate of pay?

Mrs M has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). She was struggling to carry out a role that used a workflow management system, as she kept checking, rechecking and re-rechecking her work.

A landmark case regarding this issue was Archibald vs. Fife Council. Susan Archibald could no longer carry out her job as a street cleaner due to her disability. She suggested that she could perform an office role. Fife Council argued that this was not reasonable as the office jobs were at a higher grade and a higher salary and that she would require training. After a protracted struggle she won her case at the House of Lords and established a key precedent for others to follow. Susan later became a Disability Champion.

Following a non-competitive interview, she was transferred to a self-managed role. Unite


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability and the Equality Act 2010


Altering their working hours

Assigning them to a different place of work

Traditionally, working hours have been rigidly set and enforced by employers with workers starting and finishing to the bell and being taken in to discipline for bad timekeeping. While many people now enjoy a more flexible approach to working time, fixed start and finish times, or even the boundaries of flexitime schemes can cause problems for disabled workers.

This kind of adjustment could involve moving a person to a different site/office within the organisation or relocating the person within a particular venue.

Some conditions cause people to have good days and bad days; some medications can take differing times to take effect; or it could simply be the need to avoid the rush hour at the start and finish of the day.

Ms K has chronic asthma. She is able to start earlier and finish earlier than her colleagues to avoid the extra traffic fumes during Manchester’s rush hour. Unite

Generally adjustments involving changing working hours are not difficult to negotiate as they cost the employer nothing.

I have been given permission to go to lunch 10 minutes early, in order to avoid the ‘crush’ in the lift, without having to use my own time. Unison

They could, in fact, be of great benefit, leading to a reduction in sickness absence if somebody can get to work later rather than take the day off due to their condition on a particular morning. Another application of this sort of adjustment could involve a managed phased return to work.

A toolmaker who was absent with depression/ anxiety was allowed to return to work initially on only two hours per day, and on evening shift only to avoid the busy periods, until he got used to the work again. This rose to four hours per day after a month, then six hours after a further month. Now back on full time but working only the evening shift. Unite

A prison officer with asthma was removed from shop patrols due to the paints etc. used in them aggravating his condition. He was also given a flexible shift pattern to enable the bad days to not detriment his sick leave. POA

For some job roles the ‘different place of work’ could be the person’s home.

M had ME and secondary disabling conditions and was struggling to travel into work. The Disability Champion recorded all the health information and the impact of the conditions. As a result, M was authorised to work from home with a VPN computer connection and was able to work any eight hours in a 24-hour period. Work was posted in or taken in once a week and the line manager and staff rang each day to keep in touch. Unite

As with moving someone to a new job, you need to talk to the member to pick up any concerns they may have about the proposed move. If the person’s condition is likely to improve it could be that the move to a new place (or indeed job role) is a temporary one.

An operative injured his back in a traffic accident and was not able to perform gardening duties for some time. To reduce the strain on him, he was temporarily redeployed to a different team where he was responsible for clearing out void properties instead. Once his back was sufficiently recovered (10 months) he returned to his original post. Unite

Allowing them to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment

Giving them, or arranging for them to be given, training

This is an important category of adjustment as it can relate directly to sickness and absence management where there is no provision for the separate counting of disability-related absence. Many schemes use a system such as the ‘Bradford Factor’ or have an automatic route into the disciplinary process after a given trigger point, which can be discriminatory to disabled people if routine treatment and appointments are included in their absence figures.

Training can be for the disabled person or for their colleagues. Disability etiquette training for all staff can break down many barriers. If people are not sure what to say to a disabled person or are unsure how to approach them, then the easy option is to say nothing – resulting in people being isolated.

While working for the Ministry of Defence, it was practice for all staff with dyslexia to be reviewed by a clinical psychologist while in post to ensure they were getting the correct support and adjustments for their post/role. PCS

I have been enabled to take time off for annual hospital appointments without having to use leave or it being marked as sick leave. All I have to do is phone in and explain that my absence from work is due to a hospital appointment. Unison

If you are in a position where disabled members are taken in to discipline for excessive absence, then suggesting to an employer that they have failed to make a reasonable adjustment could be a useful tactic. Some employers have excellent policies relating to absence relating to disability and clearly understand that this can be beneficial to them in the long term. There are many different names given to this kind of scheme where such absence is counted separately from other sickness absence or is not included in any disciplinary calculations. The example below uses the term ‘disability adjustment leave’, or DAL.

I receive DAL to cover my hospital/ doctor appointments for consultations and/or treatment, e.g. course of physio, in respect of my disabilities. Any other appointments, e.g. for a cold, are covered by normal sick absence policies. It is seen that allowing staff to attend for treatment for their disabilities under DAL actually saves on sick leave in the long run.

Our council provides ‘disability confidence’ training for managers to make them more aware of issues faced by disabled staff. There is also an e-learning module on disability equality. Unison

I have been given time off for all disability-related training that I have requested and the college has provided training on disability to all staff. Ucu

There are fairly regular managers’ training sessions on employing staff with disabilities. Unison

Where the training is for the disabled person, it can often be related to another category of adjustment such as taking on a new role or learning how to use a piece of adaptive technology or software.

A colleague of mine was forced to do an adult literacy course, with my support, because they said his English was below average. He had attended a special school so of course his English was below par but, instead of working with him at the time of employment, an over-active manager tried to embarrass him. It was a colleague of mine from the diversity team, myself and the Director of HR who supported him to stay in work. I was a learner rep for UNISON so had a mandate to get him sorted, which I did. Unison

Up to three months’ DAL can also be given for time spent waiting for reasonable adjustments to be made to a disabled persons workstation, e.g. a new chair. PCS


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability and the Equality Act 2010


Acquiring or modifying equipment

Modifying procedures for testing or assessment

There are many specialist companies that manufacture and supply all manner of adaptive technology and devices, from simple levers to make taps easier to use to sophisticated computer interfaces to allow users with a vast range of disabilities to use ICT. Many of these companies also provide advice on the appropriate devices to meet a person’s specific requirements, which can be very useful in finding or proposing a solution. Items that could come under this heading include: »» adapted keyboards – large key, Braille, guarded etc. »» large-screen monitors »» Braille computer output devices »» adapted mouse – tracker ball, foot operated etc. »» screen reading and speech recognition software »» software to assist users with dyslexia »» portable hearing loops »» optical magnifiers »» specialist furniture such as desks and seating.

This could involve changing the type of assessment task, the time allowed, the duration etc. in order that a disabled person has an equal chance of achieving a given grade compared with their colleagues.

Post Office Counters has supplied a note counter and a special set of scales for me to weigh coins instead of having to count them. It has also redesigned my work area for easy lifting and storage of large volumes of coin. CWU

As well as these off-the-peg solutions, simple modifications to existing equipment can also be effective.

A storeman doing multiple tasks has a back problem, so his duties have been reallocated so that he takes more of the driving duties, and others do more manual handling tasks. The trucks he drives have been modified to give better lumbar support and easier operation of controls. Unite

Modifying instructions or reference manuals As well as the standard accessibility issues relating to printed documents (making them available in other formats), technical documents such as instructions and manuals may present additional problems due to the potential complexity of the information they contain. They may need to be rewritten in simpler language or using illustrations, or a person using them may need to be trained in their content rather than simply being handed a copy to read for themselves.

I have a reduced observation window from two weeks to one week as stress aggravates my condition. Ucu

Providing a reader or interpreter A reader can be used to support people with visual impairments, dyslexia etc. This could be either a specific person employed in that role or a task allocated to a colleague. Many disabled people, however, prefer a solution that allows them independence so this option should be used only if it is the individual’s choice. Interpreters are generally sign language interpreters to support deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL). Be aware, however, that as well as BSL there are other recognised sign languages such as Sign Supported English and Makaton. Some deaf people prefer a lip speaker or stenographer to a sign language interpreter – and remember not all deaf people can sign. The golden rule, as always, is to talk to the person and find out their needs without making assumptions. If you have somebody in your workplace who is learning to sign or who has qualified to a particular level, they may be useful – but remember that it can take up to five years to qualify as an interpreter so using someone who is not skilled to the necessary level may not be providing an adequate solution.

After I became a rep, one member of the staff committee learned BSL up to Stage 2. He supported me in most of the general union meetings and meetings with my team in the office. This worked; particularly as we could talk one to one later if he missed anything or I didn’t understand something. When the company or union held larger events, however, we still used professional interpreters. Unite

Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

If this is used as an adjustment it must be done in a positive way. Done badly, this could increase the pressure on the person by making them feel they are constantly in the spotlight.

Negotiating on pensions relating to disability Equality legislation has given protections regarding pension schemes for many years and these protections have been carried forward into the Equality Act 2010. The protection offered relates largely to access to pension schemes and the benefits they offer. By their very nature, pension schemes are complex and generally not something that your employer can negotiate on as they are controlled by the schemes’ actuaries.


Disability-related case work Aims This activity will help you: »» find out about recent cases involving disability in your workplace »» evaluate the effectiveness of adjustments made.

Task Talk to other union reps in your workplace about recent cases involving members that have resulted in adjustments being made. Make a note of how the issue came to the union’s attention. This could have been: »» a request made by the member »» a resolve to a disciplinary issue raised by your employer »» a grievance raised by the member. For each case review the adjustments that were made in consultation with the member involved and evaluate how effective they have been. If the adjustments need reviewing, write a report to take back to your union with your recommendations.

There have been very few cases taken to tribunal around pensions and disability so it is unlikely that you will have to deal with a case; if an issue does arise you should seek advice from your trade union full-time official. The kind of issues that may come up could include:

»» a member being denied access to your pension scheme because of their disability

»» loss of pension benefits due to early retirement related to disability

»» loss of benefit due to a member working reduced hours as a ‘reasonable adjustment’

»» a member leaving a job with a pension scheme such Providing supervision If a person has a lack of confidence and is fearful of making mistakes it can be helpful to provide an additional degree of supervision or checking.


I have MS, which can also affect my memory and it has helped me to have some supervision from one of my colleagues. She checks my work if I’m doing something that I’m unfamiliar with. She then corrects the work but explains what I did wrong, so that I can write myself reminders to prevent the same mistakes happening again. Her patient intervention has made me more confident to tackle work I’m not so familiar with. Once I’m familiar with a procedure then I’m okay. I have now started ordering music CDs online, by email and via the Talis Library System, and it’s necessary to include detailed information concerning the exact edition required, and to present this information in the correct way. Unison

as a final salary or ‘defined benefit’ scheme who could potentially move to a job with a less beneficial scheme.

Any of the aforementioned issues could potentially affect the negotiation of a package involving a person leaving their job or transferring to another post.

Disability and the Equality Act 2010


Raising a grievance Grievances relating to disability can be taken out for various reasons, some of which are explained below. A grievance procedure is a formal internal process that allows employees to challenge the behaviour of their colleagues and employer and to challenge decisions that are made relating to their employment. Before considering raising a grievance you should:

»» be clear what the issue is that is causing the problem »» have a realistic goal (or goals) that will resolve the grievance »» have attempted to resolve the issue informally »» have a copy of your employer’s grievance procedure. When you interview a member who is considering a grievance, ask them to complete these two sentences: 1   I have a grievance because…

2   This would be resolved if…

For example:

Handling disabled members’ problems The way trade unions organise locally can be described using two models – the organising model and the servicing model. In the organising model, the relationship between the union, the members and the employers is well developed, most individual cases can be dealt with without the need to go into formal procedures and the unions are able to work on a strategic approach towards long-term goals. The servicing model is a more traditional one dealing with problems as they arise, whether they are individual cases or wider issues. The reality is that for most organisations there will be elements of both of these in your workplace. In an organising model situation, issues relating to disability and adjustments can be handled by consultation between the disabled person, the union and the employer. But there are occasions when this does not happen and you either need to use the grievance procedure to get an appropriate solution put in place or your employer feels it necessary to use the disciplinary procedure because it is unhappy with aspects of the person’s performance, conduct or attendance.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

If completing these two sentences is difficult, it could well be that the member is not yet in a position to address the issue formally. In the example above, for instance, although a specific solution has not been identified (which is fine), a solution to where the information the person needs access to can be found has – if that is made accessible it is reasonable to assume all future documents and updates will be accessible too. This demonstrates that work has been done informally to attempt to resolve the member’s issue. The fact that the person is considering a grievance would indicate, at the point where a potential solution has been tabled, that the request to make the adjustment has either been refused or that it was agreed but it has not actually been done.

We’ve had quite a few disabled members pursuing grievances, usually because of the delay in the reasonable adjustments being implemented. For example, a member waited 18 months for specialist desk and there always seem to be delays on delivery of special chairs or the installation of software such as Dragon. Unison

I have a grievance because I am unable to access publications issued by the company. This would be resolved if a solution is put in place to allow me to access the company intranet.

If you are sure that a grievance is the appropriate route, you should then look at your grievance policy and plan your way through the various stages. Ideally each stage of the process is held by a different manager and at a higher level of management than the previous stage, but this is not always possible. Talk to other union reps and find out which stage of the procedure usually delivers results and focus on that stage. Find out also at what stage you need to inform a full-time official of your union as they may have to get involved in the later stages or if a suitable resolution is not reached using the internal procedure. If your procedure states timescales for each stage, this can only work in your favour; if you submit a request for a stage 1 hearing and the manager fails to respond within the timescale, you can register a failure to agree and move on to the next stage. If you are happy to wait, then wait.

Handling disabled members’ problems


Disciplinary cases

Demonstrating a failure to make adjustments

Disabled people, along with people with any other of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act, are of course not exempt from the company discipline procedure, but it is important to consider a member’s disability as this may be the cause of the issue that the company is not happy with. In many cases it is possible to demonstrate that, far from a member failing to comply to a company rule or procedure, it is actually the company that has failed to make a reasonable adjustment.

If you suspect that a disciplinary issue has been caused by a failure by the employer to make a reasonable adjustment, it is much better to research a suitable solution and table it at the hearing than to simply accuse the employer of a failure. Use the headings from the guidance notes that accompany the Equality Act 2010 (see page 14) to categorise the proposal and use examples where available to demonstrate that similar adjustments have provided solutions for others.

You need to establish if disability is relevant when you first interview a member prior to a disciplinary hearing. This can be straightforward but it can also be difficult if the person does not consider themselves disabled or does not wish to raise this in the context of their defence. A person’s behaviour that leads to a discipline could be down to underlying causes that neither you nor the person is aware of.

Remember that your employer has a duty to make adjustments; you are not negotiating a favour or asking for special treatment.

I represented a member some years ago who was repeatedly in trouble for poor timekeeping. We tried lots of solutions but it seemed whatever start time he was given he would arrive five to ten minutes late. There was no logic to it. Had I known more about mental health issues, as I do now, I would have suggested mental health to the company and looked to get him suitable support. At the time I thought we’d done all we could but looking back we let him down badly. Unite

If you suspect that this may be the case, you could ask for a referral to a specialist assessment or suggest that the person makes an appointment to see their GP. Obviously issues like this can be very sensitive, particularly in a stressful situation such as a disciplinary and you may yourself find discussing mental health issues with members difficult. This is an area where having some of your reps specifically trained in the subject can be very useful. As with all disciplinary cases, when you interview the member involved you need them to be open and honest with you in order that you can defend them in the hearing. Encourage the person to be open with you and don’t jump to any conclusions. Don’t promise confidentiality as you will need to discuss issues with other reps and during the hearing. Inform the person of who is likely to be made aware of anything said and assure them that outside of that group of people nothing about the case will be discussed further.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Disability and absence management Many employers now have absence management policies in place that can trigger the disciplinary process when a person hits a set number of days, number of absences or a figure calculated using the two, such as the Bradford System. Systems such as these can be discriminatory against disabled people if absence relating to their disability is included in their score. If you have a disabled member involved in an absence-related disciplinary case, your first goal should be to identify any periods of absence that relate to disability and have those removed from the score/total that the management is unhappy with.

A worker in a betting shop was invited to answer an allegation of ‘excessive absenteeism’ in an investigatory meeting called as part of the company’s disciplinary procedure. I accompanied my member at the meeting and we went prepared with the current documentation and law regarding discrimination against disabled employees. It soon became clear that requests for reasonable adjustments to working practices had been ignored by the manager responsible for setting rotas; and that these rotas had contributed directly to aggravating my member’s condition (rheumatoid arthritis) and therefore causing her absenteeism.

If your employer has a policy such as this you can suggest that it should be subject to an impact assessment and that assessment should identify this as an issue and help to build a case for the separate accounting of disability-related absence.

Disability discrimination by association or perception

‘Chris’ had an adjustment package agreed by his then management in 2005 that included him working two days a week at home and three days a week in the office to manage his chronic back problems. This worked and there were no problems.

The Equality Act 2010 incorporates the concepts of discrimination by association or perception, which were previously established only by case law.

In 2006 he was made ‘pre-surplus’, which basically meant his job was going and he needed to find a new one.

Discrimination by perception means that a person can claim discrimination on the grounds of a protected characteristic that they do not actually fit into but are assumed to by others, for example a heterosexual man being subject to homophobic bullying because he is thought by others to be gay.

By January 2009 he lodged a complaint over the impending withdrawal of his working arrangements and pressure for him to return to five days a week in the office with an increased sick leave allowance.

Discrimination by association is where the person being discriminated against does not have a protected characteristic but the discrimination relates to their relationship with someone who has. It is likely that many disability-related disciplinary and grievance cases will come under this heading where people have to balance their working life with caring for a disabled family member. This principle was established in the case of Coleman vs. Attridge Law in 2008, where Coleman claimed she had been discriminated against when she was forced to leave her job after being refused time off to care for her four-year-old disabled child. The case went all the way to the European Court of Justice and established that nondisabled people could take a case under the DDA.

After his third occupational health medical confirmed the arrangement’s efficacy as a reasonable adjustment, Chris reinstituted the suspended complaint as a grievance in September 2010. The grievance was heard and not upheld in May 2011 and an appeal on outcome is due. Management is saying it cannot accommodate Chris with the same adjustment as his job has gone and there are no jobs available to accommodate this working arrangement. PCS

Redundancy selection Redundancy selection criteria should also be subject to impact assessment to ensure disabled workers are equally assessed compared with non-disabled people. If sickness absence is used as a criteria then a person’s disability-related absence should be discounted, as mentioned above. Criteria around flexible working etc. could also either directly or indirectly discriminate against disabled people and people with other protected characteristics.

Fortunately the manager taking the meeting recognised the need to formalise the request for a more practical rota that would contribute to my member’s management of her condition. This was agreed and the arrangement has been in place for three months. Community

Handling disabled members’ problems


How much funding is available? The actual amount of funding is dependent upon the type of support required, the size of the employer and the length of time the disabled person has been employed. Access to Work can pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs if the disabled person is: »» unemployed and starting a new job »» self-employed »» working for an employer and has been in the job for less than six weeks. Whatever the employment status, Access to Work will also pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs of help with: »» support workers »» fares to work »» communicator support at interview.

Using available support Access to Work funding Access to Work is a fund administered by Jobcentre Plus that can help employers meet the cost of making adjustments for disabled workers. It can also pay towards the cost of getting to work if the person cannot use public transport. Note: Ministerial governmental departments are excluded from Access to Work funding.

Access to Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if all of the following apply: »» the person is working for an employer »» they have been in the job for six weeks or more »» they need special equipment. The precise level of funding is calculated as follows: »» employers with one to nine employees will not be expected to share costs »» employers with 10 to 49 employees will pay the first £300 and 20 per cent of costs up to £10,000 »» employers with 50 to 249 employees will pay the first £500 and 20 per cent of costs up to £10,000 »» large employers with 250 or more employees will pay the first £1,000 and 20 per cent of costs up to £10,000.

London Contact this centre if you live in:

»» south-east England »» London »» east of England

Jobcentre Plus Access to Work Operational Support Unit Nine Elms Lane London SW95 9BH Telephone: 020 8426 3110 Textphone: 020 8426 3133 Fax: 020 8426 3134 Email:

Cardiff Contact this centre if you live in:

»» south-west England »» Wales »» West Midlands »» East Midlands

Jobcentre Plus Access to Work Operational Support Unit Alexandra House 377 Cowbridge Road East Cardiff CF5 1WU Telephone: 02920 423 291 Textphone: 02920 644 886 Fax: 02920 423 342 Email:

Glasgow Contact this centre if you live in:

Access to Work is available to disabled people in work whose disability or health condition stops them from being able to do parts of their job. In general, the same tests for disability are applied in assessing applications for Access to Work funding as are used in the test to meet the requirements of the disability protected characteristic of the Equality Act 2010. If you believe one of your members is eligible for Access to Work funding you should contact one of the three offices below, depending upon where in the UK you are located. You will then be allocated a Disability Employment Adviser who will contact the member and the employer. Part of this process may involve an assessment of the most appropriate solution to the individual’s requirements. Generally communication is done via telephone but visits can be arranged if necessary.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

After between one and three years, Access to Work will review the support.

Access to Work contact centres There are three contact centres for Access to Work, each serving particular regions. You should first determine which centre is the appropriate one for your area and then contact them by telephone, fax, textphone, email or post. You cannot visit the offices in person.

»» Scotland »» north-west England »» north-east England »» Yorkshire and Humberside

Jobcentre Plus Access to Work Operational Support Unit Anniesland JCP Baird Street Glasgow G90 8AN Telephone: 0141 950 5327 Textphone: 0845 6025850 Fax: 0141 950 5265 Email:

Using available support


The Two Ticks disability symbol


Access to Work funding Aims This activity will help you: »» understand how Access to Work funding is calculated »» work out potential funding to assist in negotiating adjustments. The funding method for Access to Work looks quite complicated as it has three elements: »» an initial amount that the employer has to pay »» a percentage up to £10,000 »» full funding over £10,000. If you break these down, then working out the funding is in fact quite straightforward. Here are two examples:

An adjustment costing £700 in a company with 35 employees 1 Take the employer’s contribution from

3 The easiest way to work out 80 per cent is

to multiply by 0.8: £9,000 x 0.8 = £7,200. 4 Access to Work pays all of the cost less the employer contribution over £10,000: £13,000 – £10,000 = £3,000. 5 Next add the two elements of the funding together (the part under £10,000 and the part over) to work out the full amount of funding that will be paid: £7,200 + £3,000 = £10, 200. 6 To work out what your employer needs to pay, take the funding from the total cost: £14,000 – £10,200 = £3,800. So, this adjustment would cost the employer £3,800, with the other £10,200 being paid by Access to Work.

Task One of your members is blind and has just moved to a new job that requires him to work with computers. As he reads Braille he has suggested that a device that would allow him to takes notes and also use his PC using Braille would be an ideal solution. The piece of equipment he has shown you costs £4,095.

the total: £700 – £300 = £400. 2 The employer also has to pay 20 per cent

for this figure up to a maximum of £10,000, so Access to Work will pay the other 80 per cent. The easiest way to work out 80 per cent is to multiply by 0.8: £400 x 0.8 = £320, so the funding is £320. 3 To work out what your employer needs to pay, take the funding from the total cost: £700 – £320 = £380.

Based upon the size of your employer, calculate the amount of funding that could be received from Access to Work and how much the device would cost your employer.

The Two Ticks disability symbol has been around for a number of years. In the disability movement it gets very bad press as it is seen as tokenistic. Like all kite mark awards and standards, this can easily be the case providing that the organisation holding the award is not held to account for the criteria against which the award was given. In order to be able to use the disability symbol a company or organisation has to apply through Jobcentre Plus and then be able to demonstrate five commitments: »» to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and to consider them on their abilities »» to discuss with disabled employees, at any time but at least once a year, what both parties can do to make sure disabled employees can develop and use their abilities »» to make every effort when employees become disabled to make sure they stay in employment »» to take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness needed to make these commitments work »» to review these commitments each year and assess what has been achieved, plan ways to improve on them and let employees and Jobcentre Plus know about progress and future plans.


Reviewing Two Ticks Aims This activity will help you: »» evaluate your employer’s commitment to the disability symbol »» look for evidence to support the award.

Task 1 Look at the five commitments of the disability symbol on the left. For each of the five make a note of how you believe your employer demonstrates that commitment.

Task 2 If your employer holds the Two Ticks award, talk to other reps and your HR department and see if there is any evidence available to show that your employer is meeting the five commitments. If it does not hold the award, contact HR to ask if this is something it has ever considered and try and find out what swayed the decision not to apply for it.

If you, your trade union colleagues and your disabled members are aware that your employer has made these commitments, it creates a strong platform to progress issues and keep disability equality firmly on the agenda. If your employer doesn’t hold the symbol then working towards it can be a potential benefit in negotiating around disability.

So, this adjustment would cost the employer £380, with the other £320 being paid by Access to Work.

An adjustment costing £14,000 in a company with 2,000 employees 1 Take the employer’s contribution from

the total: £14,000 – £1,000 = £13,000. 2 The employer also has to pay 20 per cent

for this figure up to a maximum of £10,000, so Access to Work will pay the other 80 per cent. Because this adjustment costs more than £10,000, the 80 per cent figure is applied to £10,000 less the employer’s contribution: £10,000 – £1,000 = £9,000.


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook

Using available support


Further information ACAS Euston Tower 286 Euston Road London NW1 3JJ Telephone: 08457 47 47 47

Access Code Detailed information on designing accessible built environment.

Action on Hearing Loss 19-23 Featherstone Street London EC1Y 8SL Telephone: 0808 808 0123 Textphone: 0808 808 9000

British Council of Disabled People Litchurch Plaza Litchurch Lane Derby DE24 8AA Telephone: 0208 459 2998

Disability Net

TUC Education contact details

Equality and Human Rights Commission

RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind)


3 More London Riverside Tooley Street London SE1 2RG Helpline numbers: England 0845 604 6610 Scotland 0845 604 5510 Wales 0845 604 8810

105 Judd Street London WC1H 9NE Telephone: 0303 123 9999

Liz Rees National Trade Union Education Manager Telephone: 020 7079 6923 Email:

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Temple Court 39 North Street Belfast Northern Ireland BT1 1NA Telephone: +44 (0) 28 9024 3987 Textphone: +44 (0) 28 9024 9066 SMS Text: +44 (0) 7786 202075

Radar 2 City Forum 250 City Road London EC1V 8AF Telephone: 020 7250 3222 Textphone: 020 7250 4119

Scope 6 Market Road London N7 9PW Telephone: 0808 800 3333

Trade Union Disability Alliance (TUDA) BM TUDA London WC1N 3XX

Jackie Williams Education & Training Officer Telephone: 020 7079 6924 Email: Martin Hegarty Education & Training Officer Telephone: 020 7079 6946 Email: Craig Hawkins Online Learning Officer Telephone: 020 7079 6947 Email: Anna Kalsi e-learning Support Officer Telephone: 020 7079 6957

Regional Scotland Harry Cunningham Regional Education Officer 4th Floor, John Smith House 145-165 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 4RZ Telephone: 0141 221 8545 Fax: 0141 221 8575 Email:

Yorkshire and the Humber Trevor Sargison Regional Education Officer Regional TUC Office 3rd Floor, 33 Park Place Leeds LS1 2RY Telephone: 0113 242 9296 Fax: 113 244 1161 Email:


Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook



Ian West Regional Education Officer 5th Floor, Commercial Union House 39 Pilgrim Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE Telephone: 0191 232 3175 Fax: 0191 232 3190 Email:

Julie Cook Regional Education Officer Transport House 1 Cathedral Road Cardiff CF11 9SD Telephone: 029 2034 7010 Fax: 029 2022 1940 Email:

North West

South West

Pete Holland Regional Education Officer 2nd Floor, Orleans House Edmund Street Liverpool L3 9NG Telephone: 0151 236 7678 Fax: 0151 236 2331 Email:

Marie Hughes Regional Education Officer Ground Floor, Church House Church Road, Flinton Bristol BS34 7BD Telephone: 0117 947 0521 Fax: 0117 947 0523 Email:


Northern Ireland Committee

Pete Try Regional Education Officer 24 Livery Street Birmingham B3 2PA Telephone: 0121 236 4454 Fax: 0121 236 7324 Email:

Clare Moore Regional Education Officer ICTU Carlin House 4-6 Donegall Street Place Belfast BT1 2FN Telephone: 0289 024 7940 Email:

Southern and Eastern Rob Hancock and Theresa Daly Regional Education Officers Congress House Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS Telephone: 020 7467 1237 Fax: 020 7467 1366 Email: Email:

TUC Education contact details



Disabled workers A TUC Education workbook


Published by Trades Union Congress Congress House Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS January 2012 ISBN 978 1 85006 925 6 ÂŁ6 TUC member unions

Design: TUC Illustration: Gillian Blease Print: Newnorth

Disability workbook - A TUC Education workbook  
Disability workbook - A TUC Education workbook  

Despite many years of legislation and campaigning, statistics show that disabled people still have a long way to go to achieve equality in t...