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Employers feel social pressure on disability

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UK employers are more likely to operate a disability policy because of social pressure rather than legislation, according to research published today in IRS Employment Review. One in four respondents (25%) ranked social responsibility as one of their main reasons for having a disability policy, compared with 16% in 2001.

Although the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) has focused on the need to establish disability policies and avoid unlawful discrimination, the report confirms that for the majority of employers the DDA is rarely a primary reason for having such a policy.

Key Findings
– Just under nine out of 10 (185) respondents say their organisations have a formal policy on the employment of disabled people, compared with two-thirds in the 2000 and 2001 surveys;

– 95% (compared with 87% in 2001) – say they currently employ people with disabilities or long-term health problems;

– Two-thirds of employers actively encourage job applications from disabled people.

– Public sector employers say that having an employee disability policy helps improve the quality of service they provide to their customers and members of the public;

– More employers reported that the DDA has had a greater impact on job retention than on the recruitment of disabled people. However, three-quarters of employers reported that they have conducted a comprehensive review of recruitment and selection procedures to ensure DDA compliance (compared with 61% in 2001);

– 25% report that disabled employees in their organisations may work at home for at least part of the working week.

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