New 'disability passports' to secure reasonable adjustments for disabled workers

By agency reporter
February 26, 2019

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the GMB union have launched a new 'disability passport' to help the nearly one million (946,010) disabled people who fall out of work or switch employers each year to get the support they need. 

Disabled people can leave their jobs for many reasons. One preventable reason is when employers fail to carry out their legal duty to make – and keep in place – the reasonable adjustments their disabled staff need to do their jobs.  

With one in 10 (390,820) disabled people dropping out of work and one in seven (555,190) finding new employment every year, the TUC and the GMB believe it is vital to find a more successful and unified way of agreeing and recording what modifications need to be put in place.  

So the TUC and the GMB have produced a model reasonable adjustments employer agreement, for reps to agree with their employer, and a template reasonable adjustments passport, to capture what adjustments have been put in place to eliminate barriers in the workplace.   

These adjustments could include: providing specially adapted equipment (like a chair, desk or computer), temporarily changing the duties of the job, changing break times or working patterns, or allowing flexible working or time off for medical appointments.  

When the adjustments are agreed, the passport is signed by everyone. The document can be reviewed at regular intervals and means disabled people don’t have to explain their requirements every time their line manager changes, or they change roles within their organisation.   

The TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Disabled people face many barriers when it comes to finding good, rewarding jobs. Employers must do more to make the reasonable adjustments they need.  

“Disabled workers live with the constant threat of losing their reasonable adjustments every time their boss or job changes. 

“The TUC and the GMB’s passport is an ideal place to officially and clearly record what adjustments have been agreed, so disabled workers aren’t going back to the starting line every time they get a new manager or role.” 

The GMB General Secretary Tim Roache said: “It's been law for employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers for almost a quarter of a century. 

“Yet many can face a daily battle with bosses just for the basic things they need to do their job. 

“This means stress and misery for them and their families – and can lead to poverty, hardship and unemployment when they feel forced out of their jobs; disabled workers are twice as likely to drop out of work than non-disabled workers. 

“But our new reasonable adjustment disability passport could tackle that – no matter where they work or who their boss is, this document will support the reasonable adjustments a disabled worker is legally entitled to.  It’s a short policy that could improve the lives of millions of workers.”  

When a workplace feature or practice puts a worker or job applicant with a disability at a disadvantage, the employer has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to see what reasonable adjustments can be made. An employer who fails to meet their legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments is in breach of the law and could be taken to an Employment Tribunal. 

* See a model passport here

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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