Reasonable adjustments disability passports

Report type
Policy proposal
Issue date
25 Feb 2019
Key findings

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 GMB’s motion at the TUC’s Disabled Workers Conference in 2018 called for the creation of reasonable adjustments disability passports.

The TUC has worked with its Disabled Workers Committee and the GMB and its disabled workers and activists to create this document. Feedback from affiliates and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has also been sought to ensure that the passports meet the needs of disabled members.

The social model of disability

The social model of disability

The TUC has adopted the social model of disability.  The social model of disability focuses on the ways in which society is organised, and the social and institutional barriers which restrict disabled people’s opportunities. The social model sees the person first and argues that the barriers they face, in combination with their impairments, are what disables them.

Barriers can make it impossible or very difficult to access jobs, buildings or services, but the biggest barrier of all is the problem of people’s attitude to disability. Removing the barriers is the best way to include millions of disabled people in our society.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments

All employers have a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to proactively make reasonable adjustments to remove, reduce or prevent any disadvantages that disabled workers face.

The law recognises that to secure equality for disabled people work may need to be structured differently, support given, and barriers removed. It means that in certain circumstances disabled people may be treated more favourably than non-disabled people to ensure equality, but one disabled person cannot be treated more favourably than another disabled person.

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.

Public sector employers have an additional legal duty to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act. This public sector equality duty will include public authorities considering how their policies affect disabled employees and taking steps to mitigate any adverse impact.