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Responding to the government’s disability strategy published today (Wednesday), TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Everyone should have an equal chance to earn a living and pursue a career. But disabled people still face huge barriers at work. And the government has once again missed the chance to act.

“Disabled people are far less likely to be in paid employment – and when they are, they are hit by a 20 per cent pay gap, which is growing year-on-year. The way to end this is to make employers report on their disability pay gaps – but ministers have failed to support this in the disability strategy.

“Disabled workers have a legal right to the reasonable adjustments they need – but two-fifths of disabled workers aren’t getting them. Ministers should have taken the opportunity to strengthen the duty on employers to provide reasonable adjustments.

“And ministers should get on with their long-promised plans to make flexible working the default, by giving all workers a day one right to work flexibly. This could be transformative for disabled workers.”

Editors note

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

- TUC analysis of the Labour Force Survey published in November 2020 found that disabled people continue to face double discrimination. Not only are they less likely to have a paid job but when they do, disabled people earn substantially less than their non-disabled peers. The disability pay gap was 20 per cent.

- TUC polled over 2,000 disabled workers in February 2021 looking at their experiences getting reasonable adjustments before and during the pandemic. It found that 4 in 10 disabled workers aren’t getting the reasonable adjustments they need.

- The TUC have produced a ‘Reasonable Adjustments Disability Passport’ to ensure disabled workers are able to get and keep in place the reasonable adjustments they need to do their jobs.

- The TUC has called for all workers to have a right to access genuine flexible working through the introduction of:

1.     a legal duty on employers to consider which flexible working arrangements are available in a role and publish these in job advertisements, with the new postholder having a day one right to take up the flexible working arrangements that have been advertised. If an employer does not think that any flexible working arrangements are possible, they should be required to set out the exceptional circumstances that justify this decision.

2.     a day one right to request flexible working for all workers, with the criteria for rejection mirroring the exceptional circumstances set out above. Workers should have a right to appeal and no restrictions on the number of flexible working requests made.


TUC press office  
020 7467 1248 

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