New online service will boost employer support for disabled workers
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A £6.4m online service to help businesses provide more support for disabled people and those with health conditions has been launched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
An early test version of the Support with Employee Health and Disability service is already running, offering information and advice about supporting and managing employees with disabilities.
The DWP said that any employer can access the service, although it is primarily aimed at smaller businesses, many of which do not have in-house HR support or access to an occupational health service.
The new service also covers potential changes an employer could make to help staff return to and stay in work.
Claire Coutinho, minister for disabled people, health and work, said: “Since 2017 we have seen one million more disabled people in work, beating our target by five years. Now we want to go even further by giving more employers the tools and information they need to ensure disabled people and those with health conditions can succeed in the workplace.
“As the new minister for disabled people, health and work, there is no end to my ambition to build on the success of the department by making sure disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else to start, stay and succeed in work.”
The site is currently in test mode, with businesses and disability groups invited to have their say through a short online survey, to help shape the future of the service.
The site will be constantly updated and improved over the next three years, informed by feedback from the survey.
Once fully developed, the service will also help employers understand their legal obligations, including how to make adjustments for disabled people and those with health conditions.
The government has previously announced £1.3bn in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. The money will go towards building up existing provision, including expanding employment support, to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.
Recent figures show the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.3m since 2017.
Earlier this month, the government refused to back statements from Coutinho made at the Conservative Party conference that disability benefits would be uprated next year by the full rate of inflation.
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