Who is defined as disabled?
There are many kinds of disability, some more widely understood and visible than others. Many of us who work at the University may have a disability that is covered by the Equality Act 2010 without even realising it.
Legally, under the Act, a person is likely to be considered disabled if they have a mental or physical impairment that has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This effect must be:
- Substantial: in other words, not minor or trivial. The person is still considered disabled if the effects of their impairment are alleviated or removed by ongoing treatments or aids.
- Long-term: this is usually taken to mean that it has lasted, or is likely to last, for more than 12 months.
This definition is quite broad and can include people with cystic fibrosis, depression, dyslexia, repetitive strain injury (RSI) or a severe facial disfigurement. Some people have conditions that are defined in the Equality Act as being a disability from the point of their diagnosis. These are: cancer, HIV infection and Multiple Sclerosis.
Some people with a disability will know that they require adjustments to enable them to work, and others may not. Access to Work is a Government scheme to support people with disabilities to be able to access work and stay in work by providing an assessment, advice on adjustments and funding (full funding is provided for people starting with a new employer and for up to six weeks after starting). To access this scheme the person with the disability must apply for Access to Work support themselves.
I have a disability – do I have to tell the University?
It is up to you whether or not you tell the University that you are disabled. However, the University is working hard to create an environment in which staff are happy to disclose their disability.
Telling us that you are disabled is particularly important if you might need any adjustments to carry out your job and if you have applied to Access to Work for their support. It will be very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for the University to provide these if you do not tell us. In addition, telling us can also help the University to improve the way it works with disabled staff – for example this information can help us to assess the impact of University practices on disabled staff.
To disclose a disability to the University you can alter your status on Core to disabled from Personal Details under Disability Info. You will need to inform your line manager if you would like to discuss potential adjustments; such as additional equipment or changes to the way in which you work. For further information on how to do this please see the canvas course - Update Personal Details
What can the University do to assist me?
For information on how the University can assist you please visit Reasonable Adjustments and also refer to the Quick Guide to making Reasonable Adjustments that is available from that page. In addition if you require further advice, you may self-refer through accessing the OPAS G2 (Occupational Health software) and providing your University email. Should your request indicate that an appointment to assess you is required, before advice can be given, then it will be recommended that a management referral is received.
The Equality Act defines 'reasonable adjustments' as adjustments to:
- Provisions, criteria or practices (the way things are done)
- Physical features (the built environment)
- Auxiliary aids (providing specialist equipment or services)
The most common types of adjustment include:
- the services of a support worker (for example, a personal assistant or sign-language interpreter)
- equipment (for example, assistive computer software or an adjustable height desk)
- transcription of written materials into accessible formats (for example braille or large print)
- adjustments to workplaces or the physical environment
- adjustments to an employee's duties, working routine or conditions of service or the provision of disability leave
'Reasonable' is difficult to define here, but it is important to remember that all adjustments must be aimed at addressing particular barriers you face, and that you have a right to be fully involved in any discussions about adjustments. Clearly not all potential adjustments would be reasonable to make, but if a request or suggestion that you make is not accepted, you should be given a clear explanation of why it was not reasonable. To support you and your line manager in these discussions a referral may be made to Occupational Health for our advice.
How can I be mentally healthy at work?
You can access support from the University's EAP provider Health Assured.
We have produced a document on Mental Wellbeing at Work, which raises awareness of mental health problems and provides guidance for staff (including managers) about creating a mentally healthy workplace: Mental Wellbeing at Work
Mind, the mental health charity, have produced some fantastic resources on this topic: Mind website
Accessing the Work Mental Health Support Service
Remploy who provide the University with this Service, which is funded by the Department for Work & Pensions, provides confidential one-to-one workplace mental health support. What can you expect when accessing this service?
- A wellbeing plan to help you stay in, or return to work
- Workplace adjustments
- Coping strategies
- Expert advice and support for nine months
So far, Remploy has already supported thousands of people with a mental health condition who are absent from work or finding work difficult to stay in, or return to their job.
Of these, 93% of people are still in work after six months.
Remploy will not inform the University that you are accessing this service, unless you want them to.
To book an appointment please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
To qualify, you need to:
- Be in permanent or temporary employment (attending work or signed off)
- Be an employee or apprentice of the University
- Have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that has caused you to be off work, or that is making it hard for you to undertake your duties and responsibilities whilst at work
If you have any queries before accessing this National Service than please visit https://www.remploy.co.uk/employers/mental-health-and-wellbeing/workplace-mental-health-support-service-employers