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New TUC analysis reveals 391,000 (one in 10) disabled people dropped out of work in the UK last year

New TUC and GMB passports will help almost one million disabled people get the support they need at work 

  • New TUC analysis reveals 391,000 (one in 10) disabled people dropped out of work in the UK last year 

  • A further 555,000 (one in seven) started work with a new employer 

  • The TUC and the GMB are launching a model passport to make sure disabled people have the adjustments they need to flourish at work  

The TUC and the GMB are today (Monday) launching a new disability passport to help the nearly 1 million (946,010) disabled people who fall out of work or switch employers each year to get the support they need. 

Disabled people can leave their jobs for many reasons. One preventable reason is when employers fail to carry out their legal duty to make – and keep in place – the reasonable adjustments their disabled staff need to do their jobs.  

With 1in 10 (390,820) disabled people dropping out of work and 1 in 7 (555,190) finding new employment every year, the TUC and the GMB believe it is vital to find a more successful and unified way of agreeing and recording what modifications need to be put in place.  

So the TUC and the GMB have produced a model reasonable adjustments employer agreement, for reps to agree with their employer, and a template reasonable adjustments passport, to capture what adjustments have been put in place to eliminate barriers in the workplace.   

These adjustments could include: providing specially adapted equipment (like a chair, desk or computer), temporarily changing the duties of the job, changing break times or working patterns, or allowing flexible working or time off for medical appointments.  

When the adjustments are agreed, the passport is signed by everyone. The document can be reviewed at regular intervals and means disabled people don’t have to explain their requirements every time their line manager changes, or they change roles within their organisation.   

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Disabled people face many barriers when it comes to finding good, rewarding jobs. Employers must do more to make the reasonable adjustments they need.  

“Disabled workers live with the constant threat of losing their reasonable adjustments every time their boss or job changes. 

“The TUC and the GMB’s passport is an ideal place to officially and clearly record what adjustments have been agreed, so disabled workers aren’t going back to the starting line every time they get a new manager or role.” 

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “It's been law for employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers for almost a quarter of a century. 

“Yet many can face a daily battle with bosses just for the basic things they need to do their job. 

“This means stress and misery for them and their families - and can lead to poverty, hardship and unemployment when they feel forced out of their jobs; disabled workers are twice as likely to drop out of work than non-disabled workers. 

“But our new reasonable adjustment disability passport could tackle that - no matter where they work or who their boss is, this document will support the reasonable adjustments a disabled worker is legally entitled to. 

“It’s a short policy that could improve the lives of millions of workers.”  

Editors note

Notes to editors: 
- Number of disabled people changing employers or dropping out of work last year 

Disabled employees who have been with current employer less than a year  

Disabled people not in work who left their last job within the last year  

Total disabled people changing jobs or leaving work in last year  

North East 

20,950 

19,220 

40,160 

North West 

68,080 

47,860 

115,940 

Yorkshire and the Humber 

54,220 

31,240 

85,450 

East Midlands 

41,880 

34,370 

76,250 

West Midlands 

45,530 

29,880 

75,410 

East of England 

48,180 

40,850 

89,030 

London 

58,920 

36,690 

95,610 

South East 

77,720 

46,060 

123,780 

South West 

58,710 

35,930 

94,640 

Wales 

28,960 

25,330 

54,290 

Scotland 

42,520 

36,290 

78,800 

Northern Ireland 

9,520 

7,110 

16,620 

Total 

555,160  

390,810  

945,970 

Figures: 4-quarter average for the latest quarters (Q4 2017-Q3 2018) from the ONS Labour Force Survey. 

- There are 3.9 million disabled people in work
- When a workplace feature or practice puts a worker or job applicant with a disability at a disadvantage, the employer has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to see what reasonable adjustments can be made. An employer who fails to meet their legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments is in breach of the law and could be taken to an Employment Tribunal. For more information visit www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=607 

- Government research, in the report ‘Improving Lives: The Future of Work, health and Disability’, shows disabled people are twice as likely to fall out of work. You can read the report here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/663399/improving-lives-the-future-of-work-health-and-disability.PDF  

- To see the full report click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UmlouEHdrhtTk_3DntlV07wh32p6Uh_U/view  

- To see a model workplace policy click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UjSinN8gaq3U09Xv9toG77TKh_cHL2il/view  

- To see a model passport click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mvrh1Uv3Zi1kVWlXvcrQAIsPQIvsnUb7/view  

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.