- Coronavirus and claiming benefits (Universal Credit website)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re already getting benefits (Gov.UK)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re employed and cannot work (Gov.UK)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you were employed and have lost your job (Gov.UK)
- Coronavirus: useful information for disabled people (Disabilty Rights UK)
- We have also listed links on another page for information and advice from other services.
What is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010?
A disabled person is described in the Equality Act 2010 as one who has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
I am applying for a job, do I have to say that I have a disability?
You do not have to declare your disability during the recruitment process. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against candidates because of their disability.
If you are offered a job it is up to you whether you inform your employer about your disability or not. If you choose not to tell them you can’t later rely on the fact that you have a disability if something goes wrong. If your employer doesn’t know that you have a disability they aren’t legally obliged to put any reasonable adjustments in place to support you in your role.
What is permitted work?
Permitted work is work you may do, including voluntary work, while claiming disability-related benefits such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You can work for up to 16 hours each week. If you are receiving ESA, before you start work, you have to fill in this DWP form and send it to the JobCentre. You can read more in this DWP factsheet.
What is Occupational Health?
An Occupational Health Service is an impartial, confidential advisory support service. People are referred to Occupational Health so that both they and their manager can have access to professional advice and guidance to aid the improvement of their health. This includes:
- How best to support a member of staff with a long term health condition.
- How the working environment may impact on health.
- Advice and guidance regarding rehabilitation, recovery and reasonable adjustments.
What is a reasonable adjustment?
Simply put a reasonable adjustment is anything that can be done to enable you to stay in work.
There is no limit as to how many adjustments can be made and the employer has a responsibility to look at all possible reasonable adjustments.
Reasonable adjustments could include, for example:
- Enabling staff to take more regular breaks.
- Providing a place where staff can rest for short periods during the working day.
- Flexible or reduced working hours.
- Moving a work station further from a source of heat (this might help with fatigue) or nearer to a toilet.
- Assign staff to a different role in the organisation or change roles and responsibilities’ within current job description.
- Arrange for meetings to be held at a time or place to suit staff.
- Agree a flexible working pattern which enables staff to do some of their work from home.
- Give a car parking space by the nearest entrance to work.
- Improve physical accessibility – for example, by providing handrails or a ramp.
- Provide a larger computer screen for people with visual problems.
- Provide voice-recognition software or an adapted keyboard or mouse.
- Improved lighting.
- A special chair if staff cannot stand for long periods or have back problems.
- Providing written materials on different coloured paper which can help with some visual problems.
Do I have to fund the reasonable adjustments myself or does the employer?
You as an individual would not normally be expected to pay yourself. Your employers may have to do so subject to their size and income. employers will normally be expected to look at making reasonable adjustments before looking to have the costs met. Some finding is available to staff and employers through the Access to Work scheme.
What is Access to Work?
Access to Work is a government grant which you or your employer can apply for in order to assist you in work.
Normally the application process can be done online, by phone or e-mail.
You will be asked what you need the funding for, your employers details and some of your own personal information e.g. contact details and National Insurance number.
It may be possible to apply to access to work for a grant for things like equipment, software, and travel to and from work and any journeys whilst in work. You may be able to get funding for a support worker who could carry out any practical tasks to assist you in work.
Once it has been approved this will be confirmed in writing.
Your Access to Work funding can be reviewed at any time should you need additional help.
Can my employer sack me on the grounds of ill health & capability?
It is not illegal for your employer to end your contract of employment on the grounds of ill health and capability. However, before this is done, many things have to be carried out before a final decision is reached.
Your employer does have to consider all other options including making reasonable adjustments before taking this final action.
Should my employer offer me another role?
Yes but only if there is another role available within the organisation. It is possible for an employer to consider a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person but this may not always happen.