Disability Awareness training for managers

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

Conference recognises that there is a lack of disability awareness training for managers and is concerned about the impact this is having on disabled members. There appears to be an increasing lack of understanding of the needs of disabled employees in the workplace leading many employers to fail to make reasonable adjustments.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to meet the individual needs of their disabled employees. They must provide reasonable support and resources to meet these needs which can include support through Access to Work (A2W). Some managers are refusing to support A2W claims because they don’t understand how it works, believe it will cost them money or think it will be difficult to manage.

We have seen an increase in disabled employees suffering bullying in the workplace, but managers are not being trained in how to deal with it so are failing to take action.

Sickness absence procedures should include providing additional support for disabled people to return to work. Managers should be considering what reasonable adjustments they need to make to help disabled people return to work. But no training is provided to help managers understand the steps they need to take.

The previous public sector duty to promote disability equality meant many public bodies introduced disability awareness training. But the weakened duty in the Equality Act combined with public sector cuts has led to some employers cutting this training or stopping it altogether.

Disability awareness training is important for all employees but is vital for managers who need to provide support to disabled employees. This is even more important as public sector cuts are leading to heavier workloads and increased stress levels.

Conference we are calling on National Disabled Members’ Committee to:

1)Work with branches and regions to promote the need for employers to provide disability awareness training to all staff and in particular to managers; and

2)Encourage members to participate in disability awareness training and to share examples of good practice.