The Wales TUC is marking World Autism Day by publishing a new Autism Awareness in the Workplace toolkit.
The toolkit provides comprehensive practical guidance for trade unionists and employers about how they can create autism-friendly workplaces. It also tackles the many myths about autistic workers and highlights the huge benefits that they can bring to the workplace.
An estimated 31,000 people in Wales have an Autism Spectrum Condition – approximately 1 in every 100 people.
Only 16% of autistic people are in full-time work and the overall employment rate (32%) is 2.5 times lower than for the non-disabled population. 77% of those who are out of work say they want to work.
Only 10% of autistic workers report receiving employment support but 53% say they want it.
Wales TUC Policy Officer Rhianydd Williamssaid: “Too many autistic workers in Wales are facing daily discrimination and being denied opportunities at work because of widespread ignorance about their condition.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to treat people with autism fairly and to make reasonable adjustments to the work place where necessary.
“We hear about far too many cases where autistic workers are having to work in unsuitable conditions and being put under completely unnecessary stress. In many cases there are simple steps that an employer could take to improve the situation.
“Our new toolkit gives people the information and advice they need to push for change at work.”
Examples of autism-friendly changes to the work place include:
Provide autism awareness training for all staff – particularly management and HR.
Establish a clear autism policy for the work place and give autistic workers and those with caring responsibilities for people with autism the opportunity to contribute to its development.
Review the working environment. Is the sensory environment suitable for people who may be sensitive to light and sound?
Review workplace communications. Is information being shared in a way that is accessible for autistic workers?
Autism Awareness in the Workplace has been produced by Wales TUC with support from Autism Spectrum Connections Cymru.