Monday 22 November 2010

Disability and employment

According to this post from the Employer's forum on Disability, the Work Capability Test will be a "disadvantage for disabled people because of a lack of employer readiness and the recession"

We all know this is true. The ConDem's keep insisting they will protect the most vulnerable but the fact is they don't see the majority of us as vulnerable.
If you can do a little then you can work. Never mind that you don't know when you can do that little bit, or that doing it might mean you have to then rest for the next few hours, or the fact the the little bit you can do may be of no use to an employer.

The article is completely right when they say that employers lack the willingness to employ us. And I don't just mean that in financial terms. They may have to pay out nothing for adjustments but the mere fact that someone has a disability often means that they will be less 'reliable, for want of a better word, than an 'abled' person. Hospital appointments, sickness, reduced hours and many, many other things have to be taken into consideration.

At a time when each job vacancy is being chased by hundreds of people, employers can take their pick. And most of them will choose a worker that doesn't have health problems.

This is the reality that we face every day. And it's a reality the ConDems refuse to acknowledge.

Cross-posted at Rage against the Coalition


  1. That's because admitting to the reality would also be admitting to their inability to deal with it.



  3. It's been said for ages this is about getting people onto JSA and off IB or ESA, if you look at people who are being chased to work nobody on JSA or Income support are being told to get out and find work, only people on IB.

    It's pretty obvious once the people with degree have been head hunted the rest of us would be just moved onto JSA.

  4. I am on IB. I have Fibromyalgia which means that I am always in pain and often so tired that it is hard to keep awake. Yet people that I meet often tell me how well I look. I am also carer for my husband who is also on IB but is waiting to have a heart operation among his other illnesses. He also has had a stroke.
    I wish that I were well enough to go back to work but who is going to employ me when there are over 200 people for every job.

  5. Disableism seems to be an issue for the government more than employers, after all, employers will discriminate against you for having all sorts of 'baggage' (eg. small children, ill health, a criminal record). Only the government is telling disabled people that the reason they're not working is that they're not trying hard enough.

  6. You cant really blame small employers though they need reliable staff. The government doesnt address the difficulties people have every day living with illness and disability, when all they want is cuts.

  7. Come on did nobody go to the labour party conference, it was all about saving money, making people work, Labour and the Tories believe that between 1 and 1.5 million people are able to work or do some sort of work. They are not saying people should work a full week what they are saying is people could and should find work if they are able to. The problem is knowing whom is able and whom is not, at the moment everyone is seen as being able.

    Thank god for the appeals, not forgetting many people who are told to go to the medical are saying we will not bother and are going to JSA without bothering, now then you will say what do you call a lot, I've no idea THE GOVERNMENT ARE JUST SAYING A LOT.

  8. “the mere fact that someone has a disability often means that they will be less 'reliable’”

    That would have been better phrased as ‘they will be _perceived_ to be less reliable’, and unfortunately in this case the near-universal perception flies in the face of the facts. Disabled employees in fact tend to be more reliable than non-disabled employees, not less. We tend to stay in positions longer because of the difficulties we experience in finding jobs in the first place and tend to take less sick days rather than more. A disabled person with a stable disability will often go years without needing medical appointments, while the recognition that sick days will be counted against us in a way which is not true of non-disabled employees makes disabled employees significantly less likely to take a sick day if it can possibly be avoided. Refusing to employ someone because of disability isn’t just disablist and illegal, it is actually demonstrably stupid.

    “You cant really blame small employers though they need reliable staff.”

    Imagine the outcry if the discrimination that we face regularly happened to a non-disabled person because of their race or their sexual orientation or religion. Is disability really not entitled to the same protection? Small (and medium and large) employers are afforded the protection of our system of laws and derive considerable benefits from that. As quid pro quo that same system of laws imposes duties on them, one of those duties being to consider disabled employees on precisely the same basis as non-disabled staff, discounting their disability from all considerations. Those who try to shirk their obligations want the benefits of society without the responsibilities. Discrimination in employment says exactly the same about a company’s fitness to trade as if they deliver short measure, engage in price fixing or defraud suppliers. If a company is not prepared to follow the most basic of human rights legislation then should our society really permit them to continue operating?

  9. Err... Robert : "It's pretty obvious once the people with degree have been head hunted the rest of us would be just moved onto JSA."

    I've got a degree, two in fact, a BSc and an MSc. They're not exactly rarities, and not confined to the abled. Nobody's going to be headhunting me, or any of my disabled mates with degrees either, and I'm pretty sure nobody intends to invent a super-special sickness benefit for those of us with higher education.

    Talk sense.

  10. "It's pretty obvious once the people with degree have been head hunted the rest of us would be just moved onto JSA."

    Impossible though it might seem, the DWP may actually be worse at dealing with degree-qualified people than disabled people. And if you're a degree-qualified, disabled person then you're well and truly stuffed....

    I actually spent a year on JSA before they decided it couldn't cope with my disability, and my degree, and the two decades of highly specialised experience that go with it, made precisely no difference whatsoever, apart from puzzling my DEA who really couldn't understand why I wasn't interested in applying for minimum wage jobs (because in her mind minimum wage jobs are what disabled people do).

  11. There is also the problem that part-time work doesn't pay. The minimum wage is too low (too much unskilled immigration, hence the estimated 4 million jobs created in the last 10 years going to foreign workers) and means tested benefits mean low earners are only allowed to keep £20 a week before losing pound for pound from their other benefits (in my case I'd lose three, £1 of income support, £1 of housing benefit and £1 of council tax benefit for an effective marginal tax rate of 295.5%). We also pay actual tax FAR too early. No wonder nobody's working. We need the £10,000 tax free threshold promised by the LibDems brought in ASAP and a significant rise in the income disregard for means tested benefits.

    You might notice that the white paper suggests that the government will be giving with one hand but taking with the other. The disregard of Universal Credit is set to rise, but won't be applied to housing our council tax benefit so anything you gain from UC will be immediately docked from your housing benefits.

    Tell me again about the 'simplification' part, Mr Duncan Smith?

  12. If the people in Government suggesting these changes lived in the real world and had ever had a real job they would soon change their tune.

    The truth is that employers equate disability with unreliability. And there is little protection under the disability discrimination act... and the unions don't really want to know.

  13. Well I have just had a phone call today saying they wont pay me any more income support and I am to go on ESA, they said they know I am disabled and on DLA but I still have to get to them somehow and talk about ES I am in tears and feel even more ill than normal and I am scared, I cant work I have no energy to even feed myself let alone work but nobody cares as all they are doing is to move people about. I wish i were rich and didnt ned benefits but im not, and they are making disabled people feel even more like sh*t on their shoes. I am sorry I am disabled i wish as much as Govt do tht i was not