Negotiating an end to disability discrimination

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2004 Local Government Service Group Conference
1 March 2004
Carried as Amended

This Local Government Conference applauds the work undertaken by UNISON’s National Disabled Members Committee to promote negotiated agreements that make provision for Disability Leave. We are concerned that there is no adequate legislative provision to compel employers who provide services in Local Government to disregard disability-related absence and the consequence of this in relation to sickness absence procedures.

There is evidence from some branches that employers are taking punitive action against Disabled workers for absence related to disability and it suggests that there is a significantly higher incidence of disability discrimination amongst those workforces where public services are provided though the private sector.

Some Local Government branches have managed to secure new rights for Disabled members where absence from the workplace by negotiating a separate category of leave called Disability Leave. This is kept separate from sick leave and covers any leave associated with a person’s disability. Disability leave should never have a maximum entitlement. Instead it should always be assessed in terms of what is reasonable and appropriate for the individual.

This Conference instructs the National Local Government Service Group and the National Disabled Members Committee to:

1)Work with Bargaining Support Group to collect agreements and best practice information about Disability Leave Agreements negotiated locally by local government branches.

2)Ensure that the information is available on the Bargaining Information System and ensure branches are informed

3)Work with the Employers’ Organisation to update the NJC joint guidance ‘Finding the Balance: Work-Life Policies in Practice and in particular the current section on disability related leave and flexible working practices.