A new TUC report Disability and employment, published today (Friday) looks at the experiences of disabled people in the labour market and finds that they are still at a significant disadvantage compared to other workers.
The report, which is published on the second day of the TUC’s annual Disabled Workers’ Conference, makes a series of recommendations to help tackle the inequality faced by disabled workers.
It also highlights a number of key findings including:
- Disabled people generally have much lower employment rates than for non-disabled people – an average of 31 per cent lower from 2008 to 2013.
- The disability penalty for accessing work is greater for women than men – the employment rate for disabled men is 36 per cent lower than the non-disabled rate, but for women it is 39.5 per cent lower.
- People with mental illness related disabilities are among the least likely to be employed of all disabled people.
The TUC believes the government should do more to end the disability penalty and improve employment rates for disabled people, including: greater tailoring of the Work Programme; increased funding for the Access to Work scheme; renewing funding for the Time to Change campaign; and reform of the benefit sanctions regime to protect and support people with mental illness.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Disabled people who are looking for a decent job need a government that’s on their side, not on their backs. But cuts to disability benefits and harsh benefit sanctions are preventing employment rates for disabled people improving as quickly as they could.
“Many more disabled people want to be in work, but are held back by problems like employer prejudice, additional costs to access work, and a benefits regime that’s too focussed on punishment instead of support.
“Disabled women face stronger barriers to accessing work than disabled men. Ministers should investigate why this gender gap exists, so that disabled women seeking help from schemes like the Work Programme and Access to Work can get support that’s better tailored to their needs.”