Disability Leave and Attendance Policies

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2014 Higher Education Service Group Conference
2 November 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned that some Higher Education (HE) institutions are still failing to implement Disability leave Policies, despite this being offered as an example of a reasonable adjustment in the Code of Practice relating to the employment provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

Redundancies and cuts in the Higher Education sector are at an all time high, with no end in sight. Disabled HE workers are constantly under pressure with the fear of losing their jobs. We know that in these harsh times HE institutions considering cuts and redundancies will look to sickness levels, which often means that disabled HE workers are targeted and sent off to occupational health. This then usually results in redundancy or even more worryingly dismissal.

The purpose of a disability leave policy is to create a level playing field with non disabled colleagues; absence due to someone’s disability should not be used when monitoring sickness absence. However we know that managers in some HE institutions continue to do so.

Conference views this as unfair discrimination against disabled HE workers.

This Conference calls on the Higher Education Service Group Executive to work with the National Disabled Members Committee to:

1)Collect examples of negotiated disability related good practice from HE branches, especially disability leave agreements;

2)Issue UNISON’s model agreement on disability leave to HE branches, reminding them of the employers’ obligations to discount disability related absence as criteria in the redundancy selection process;