The UK government has published its national disability strategy, which is designed to help reduce the disability employment gap and ensure that disability is not a barrier to someone’s ability to reach their full potential. Proposals that are likely to be of particular interest to employers include consultations on disability reporting and making flexible working the default and a renewed commitment to introducing unpaid carers’ leave.
The Conservative Party's 2019 election manifesto committed to publishing a national strategy for disabled people, aimed at improving opportunities and access in housing, education, transport and jobs. Earlier today the government published its strategy.
One of the strategy’s objectives is to reduce the disability employment gap, which currently stands at more than 28% when the employment rate of working age disabled people is compared with that of working age non-disabled people. The government is proposing the following steps that are relevant to employers:
Making flexible working the default and introducing unpaid carers’ leave are not new commitments. They were originally announced in the 2019 Queen’s Speech but the promised Employment Bill was not in fact introduced.
The consultation exercises on disability reporting and flexible working will begin by the end of 2021 and BEIS will set out the next steps for progressing the introduction of carers’ leave within the same timescale.
The government has said that an Employment Bill will be forthcoming when parliamentary time allows. Assuming that it is still intending to introduce changes to the right to request flexible working and carers’ leave through the Bill, it seems unlikely that any reforms will come into force soon.