9 in 10 disabled workers surveyed (90 per cent) who worked from home during the pandemic want to continue doing so at least some of the time, according to a TUC poll published today (Wednesday).
The poll – run by YouGov for the TUC – found that many disabled workers experienced working from home for the first time during the pandemic.
Working from home was a gamechanger for many disabled workers
Disabled workers who were able to work from home told the TUC that it had had a positive impact on them and their working lives:
Not all organisations managed the transition to working from home well enough, though. One third of disabled workers (34 per cent) who worked from home said that they lacked proper office equipment such as a desk, chair or computer.
One in 11 (nine per cent) experienced difficulties taking part in online meetings because of their disability, impairment or heath condition and one in 14 (seven per cent) lacked the software they needed to do their job – such as speech to text programmes.
Widening access to flexible work helps disabled people stay in work
TUC research has found that only just over half (55 per cent) of those who asked their employers for reasonable adjustments during the pandemic said that they had been made in full. Employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for all disabled employees – both those working from a workplace and those working from home.
The TUC says that enabling flexible working practices can be a reasonable adjustment – and should be considered to support disabled workers. Most disabled people told the TUC that they wanted continued access to flexible working practices after the pandemic:
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Disabled people were hit hard by Covid-19. Six in ten of all Covid deaths were of disabled people.
“Disabled workers still face barriers getting and keeping a job – and are often paid less than their non-disabled peers.
“During the pandemic, many disabled people were able to work flexibly or from home for the first time – often after being previously told that it was not possible in their job. Even amid the grief and isolation of the pandemic, these changed working patterns improved the experience of many disabled people at work.
“We can’t go back. Employers must offer all disabled people who can work from home the right to continue working from home, as a reasonable adjustment. And they must offer appropriate flexible working options as standard in all jobs – both as a reasonable adjustment for disabled workers, and as a right for every worker.
“Ministers must change the law so that all jobs are advertised with flexible options clearly stated, and all workers have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day in a job.”
The TUC is calling for action to help disabled people get the flexibility they need to stay in work, including:
- Report: The full report is available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/DisabledWorkersFlexibleworking2_0.pdf
- Polling: In February 2021 YouGov conducted an online survey of 2,003 disabled workers or workers who have a health condition or impairment and who were in work at the start of the pandemic. For more information please visit: https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/btbjCL8GZHPmmBcPTlWQ?domain=yougov.co.uk/
- Unfair treatment: In June the TUC published polling which showed that nearly one in three (30 per cent) disabled workers say that they’ve been treated unfairly at work during the Covid-19 pandemic: https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/DuLzCN9GOuNEEkhrVo6l?domain=tuc.org.uk
- 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.
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