New guidance for line managers on disability
There are 7 million people of working age with a disability or long-term health condition in the UK and yet only around half of them are in work – this represents a huge pool of unused talent which businesses shouldn’t ignore. In addition, employers can’t ignore the fact that, in view of the ageing population, there is a likelihood that a greater proportion of the workforce will develop a health condition or disability. Organisations that have a positive and inclusive approach to managing disability can reap benefits in terms of increased loyalty and commitment from staff as well as improving the team’s performance and morale, retain valuable team members and reduce sickness absence.
In collaboration with the CIPD, the Department for Work and Pensions has published a guidance for line managers on recruiting, managing and developing staff with disabilities. The guide recognises that line managers are busy people, but it aims to improve their knowledge and confidence and focuses on elements such as workplace adjustments, appropriate language and managing absence, as well as providing managers with the tools to help employees with disabilities reach their potential. By using this guide, managers should be able to:-
- Be confident about managing and supporting colleagues with a disability or health condition, from recruitment and induction through to training, development and progression
- Understand, identify and reduce the barriers that could potentially be preventing a colleague with a disability or health condition from performing and/or developing to their full potential
- Identify appropriate workplace changes or adjustments to support team members with a disability or health condition to reach their full potential and thrive at work
- Ensure fair treatment for colleagues and foster an inclusive working environment.
How can Occupational Health help?
It is typically the line manager who will be the first point of contact if someone needs to discuss their health concerns or who needs a change or adjustment to their work or working hours, to enable them to perform to their full potential. In addition, the line manager is usually responsible for managing absence and keeping in touch if someone is off work ill or because of their disability, as well as supporting an effective return to work.
However, often these are areas where expert advice can be enormously helpful, and indeed the guide recognises Occupational Health input, which can be particularly beneficial in the following areas:-
- Managing effective absence management
- Advising on long term absence cases and returning to work programmes
- Recommending adjustments to assist the employee in their work
The guide also encourages Employers to join the Disability Confident scheme which they can join online. This allows them to receive accreditation and access additional guidance, peer support groups and specialist events. The scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing and developing disabled people and helps them think differently about disability and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.
For more information about how Lincoln Occupational Health can help you please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 481 0093 where our team will be happy to help.