Employment rate for disabled 'alarmingly low'

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More than 430,000 disabled employers fell out of work in the past year, according to research by Scope.

The report, A Million Futures, is based on a survey of more than 700 disabled adults, analysis of employment figures and first hand experiences of disabled people in the workplace. Almost all (91%) of the disabled people polled have worked at some stage. However, within two years of acquiring their disability, only 36% are still working. 

Lack of access to flexible working was cited as the most common barrier to continued employment. Almost half (48%) of disabled people said that flexible working arrangements would have helped them stay at work, but the option was not available. More than a third (36%) said the option to modify their work duties would have helped them to keep their job. 

The report suggests the Government's Access to Work scheme is not widely used. More than three-quarters (76%) of disabled people said either they had not heard of the scheme or they had received no help from it. Despite this, 200,000 disabled people still found work last year. 

Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes said the focus must shift from getting disabled people into work to making sure they can perform effectively in their roles. “It’s now clear we’ve been blinkered in our approach to disabled people and work," he said. “We need to look into how we can make work places more flexible, welcoming environments where disabled people flourish rather than struggle."

Mitie work with Remploy

FTSE 250 outsourcing company Mitie has signed a deal with disabled employment placement provider Remploy. It is looking to treble the number of disabled people it employs, with the aim of hiring 400 by 2016/17. 

Karen Govier, Mitie’s diversity and inclusion manager, told HR magazine demonstrating best practice is the best way to keep disabled people engaged in work.

"Encouraging transparency around disability and health conditions is of key importance to employers," she said. "One way to encourage people to disclose details around their health conditions is to share best practice via case studies.

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