Half of employers do not report on the number of employees with disabilities

by | Dec 4, 2022

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Ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2022, it has been revealed that 46% of employers do not report the number of disabled people they employ, according to research[1] from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector.

Although the Government has yet to make this mandatory, it is committed to reducing the disability employment gap, and GRiD believes that it can be useful for employers to understand their numbers in order to focus on helping those with long-term health conditions and disabilities to enter and stay in their business.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “If and when reporting is made mandatory, it is likely to be for larger corporates initially, but all employers need to have an understanding of the number of people they employ with a disability or long-term health condition as the perceived wisdom is that what gets reported gets done.

 

“However, there is likely to always be under-reporting as not all disabilities are immediately obvious – employers may believe that they have a good grasp on how many people with a disability they employ but those with a ‘non-visible’ or ‘hidden’ disability, such as a mental health condition, diabetes, or autism, could be overlooked – and many employees don’t want to disclose their condition or don’t see themselves as having any particular need that shouldn’t be addressed by their employer wanting to ensure that everyone they employ is enabled to do the best that they can.”

Of those businesses that do currently collect information on the proportion of people with disabilities in their workforce, a third (33%) do so to inform diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices and initiatives. A further 30% use the data to track progress made on their initiatives, 17% do so to inform recruitment practice, and 16% do so to inform talent management practice. In fact, 68% agree that transparency on disability reporting in the workplace could help to reduce the disability employment gap by leading to more inclusive practices.

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments[2] to support disabled job applicants and employees. This means ensuring people with disabilities or long-term health conditions can overcome any substantial disadvantages they may have in applying for, or doing, a job and progressing in work.
Employers will also find new guidance from the Support with Employee Health and Disability service[3] – the government initiative which launched in October 2022 to provide centralised access to essential information about supporting and managing employees with disabilities or health conditions at work.

 

Moxham continued: “This isn’t the type of support that employers should switch on or off dependent on budgets or the current zeitgeist. Support for existing disabled employees and future members of staff needs to be available and accessible in all places of work, all of the time.”

The first step of this journey for employers is to start capturing information. Secondly, employers need to ascertain what support might already be in place within their existing employee benefits packages. For example, many group risk benefits (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) will include practical, financial and mental health support for employees as well as HR support for the employer. Thirdly, they need to put in place any extra support that might be needed both for those applying to enter the business and for those already there.

Moxham concluded: “With the right support, employers will have access to a much wider pool of talent than perhaps they previously had and may attract a new cohort of highly motivated candidates offering the skills and knowledge that they need to benefit their business.

 

“Providing this support will help companies become Disability Confident[4[ and also sends a clear message to other staff, namely that the employer takes the health and wellbeing of its workforce seriously – and this has great benefits to wider business objectives as the workforce will be more reflective of the population as a whole and enable greater insight.”

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