The CIPD has called for more focused action to achieve a step change in employer practice to recruit and retain people with a disability or health condition. The initiative has come following the government’s response to its consultation on work, health and disability and the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health.
“The government’s strategy Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability has far reaching proposals for supporting one million more people with a disability into work in 10 years as well improving employers’ support for people’s health,” said Rachel Suff, senior employment relations adviser at the CIPD. “We welcome the broad acceptance the recommendations made in the Stevenson/Farmer review and the Matthew Taylor Review of good work designed to improve not only how employers recruit, but progress the careers of, people with a disability or health condition. By encouraging greater transparency and better reporting of action taken as suggested, government can help inspire wider change in employer practice.
Suff believe that proposals such as reforming Statutory Sick Pay to facilitate flexible working and expanding fit note certification to other healthcare professionals needs further development work and legislative change. That said, the CIPD welcomes the fact that the government is taking the time to research and demonstrate a sound evidence base on other proposals, such as determining what incentives could motivate employers to invest in people’s health.
“We need a considerable step change in employment practice relating to the management of people with a disability and/or health condition if the government’s aims are to be realised,” she says. “Its Green Paper showed that just eight per cent of employers had recruited a person with a disability or long-term health condition over a year, a stark indication of the extent of the barriers that continue to hinder employer confidence in this area.
“Despite the widely acknowledged business case for taking action, CIPD research also shows there remains a stubborn implementation gap for health and well-being initiatives, and disability confident practice, at work.” Suff conclude: “As a Disability Confident Leader, we fully support the scheme’s work to encourage broader awareness of this agenda but more concrete activity and resources are needed now by government, working with key stakeholders, to promote and join up existing services such as Fit for Work and Access to Work and build a high-profile campaign to inspire change.”