Attendance Management

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2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
5 July 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned that in the 21st Century some employers are still using draconian sickness absence polices, policies such as the Bradford Factor which we widely know discriminates against disabled workers.

Absence from work due to a disability should be treated differently and distinctly to regular sickness absence, and have a separate agreed policy relating to it. It should protect disabled employees from any discrimination related to absence caused by a disability that would otherwise be treated as sickness absence.

Without a separate policy on disability leave, a disabled person may experience disability-related discrimination in a number of ways, e.g.

• Being dismissed through sickness absence procedures that make no allowance for disability-related absence. At a time of widespread redundancies and cuts, this leaves disabled people who work for employers without a disability leave policy disadvantaged.

• There is no obligation on an employer to continue to pay sick pay to a disabled individual who has exhausted their entitlement to sick pay and is unable to return to work due to their impairment.

• There may be pressure to take ill-health or early retirement due to continued sickness absence, when the individual may be able to continue working with a reasonable adjustment.

Conference notes that although not a legal term with a specific obligatory framework, the Equality Act 2010 does oblige employers to consider providing reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. Providing disability leave would be classed as a reasonable adjustment. Although there is no legal obligation to have a policy on disability leave in place it is good practice, and vastly reduces the risk of legal challenges for disability discrimination through a failure to make a reasonable adjustment

Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to work with the service groups, NEC and labour Link to

1) campaign to seek to bring about an end to the current penal procedures of attendance management policies used both in the public and private sector

2) promote the model policy on disability leave to branches and seek implementation across all employers