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Disability still seen as a barrier to career progression, finds study

More than a third (37%) of UK workers believe disability is still a barrier to career progression, despite anti-discrimination legislation.

In a study commissioned by PMI Health Group, part of Willis Towers Watson, nearly one in five (17%) also claimed employers fail to make adequate provisions to accommodate their, or their colleagues’, disabilities.

Mike Blake (pictured), director at PMI Health Group, commented, “Companies have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, to ensure employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the workplace.

“In light of these findings, it would be advisable for businesses to ensure they are not falling foul of this legislation. Deploying pre-placement questionnaires that are reviewed by an occupational health professional gives employers the information they need to make reasonable adjustments from the outset. Physical assessments can be carried out by occupational health physicians if more detailed information is required.”

The government has set a target of halving the disability employment gap - the difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people – which stands at 33%. This is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry.

Blake added, “Health and wellbeing initiatives, including the services available through group income protection and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), can help in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace so companies can attract and retain skilled staff from this important demographic.

“Health and wellbeing initiatives that facilitate early medical intervention for mental and physical conditions can play an important role in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace and reducing incidents of long-term sickness absence.”

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