General Insurance Article - Comment on HMRCs Work and Health Programme statistics

Paul Avis, Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance, comments on HMRC’s latest Work and Health Programme statistics.

 “It is encouraging to see the Work and Health Programme bearing fruit. Nearly 8 million people have reported a disability[1] in the UK, which represents a fifth of the UK’s working age population. This is a valuable and often overlooked pool of valuable talent that employers would be wise to take note of.

 The disability employment gap in the UK, showing the difference in the employment rate between people who have at least one disability and those who do not, was 29.9%[2] in May 2019.

 Business owners need to educate themselves about what help is available to make employing disabled people straightforward and productive and explore not only State support, to help them to make ‘adjustments’ such as the WHP, but other avenues too. For example, benefits like group income protection, which is both affordable and effective in the retention of people with disabilities, is a great way to attract staff, where it is proactively communicated, as under 18,000 organisations and under 10% of the workforce have this benefit.

 If employers do not educate themselves, as a society we get a revolving door – placing people with disabilities in the workplace is only one aspect as retaining colleagues when they become disabled is the best and easiest place to start. Employers have traditionally struggled to engage effectively and wherever possible should look to retain employees with disabilities: not just because it is the law to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the workplace but replacing a staff member can cost up to £30,000.*

 There are many simple ways to support disabled people stay in work and join the workforce and by focusing on tangible, bespoke actions it can have a profound impact on them as individuals but also increase the capacity of disabled people to contribute to the workplace, yielding huge benefits to businesses and society overall.”

 [1] House of Commons, People with disabilities in employment, 2 October 2019

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