Thousands of businesses across the UK will benefit from a new £6.4 million online service to help employers better support disabled people and those with health conditions in the workplace.
The early test version of the Support with Employee Health and Disability service provides essential information about supporting and managing employees with disabilities or health conditions at work.
Any employer can access the service, which provides free advice on how to manage staff who may be in or out of work with a disability or long-term health condition in a user-friendly online Q&A format.
The service is aimed at smaller businesses, many of which do not have in-house HR support or access to an occupational health service and will help them to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.
The new service also covers potential changes an employer could make to help them return to and stay in work, supporting a government drive to boost numbers of people in employment and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from being in work.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Claire Coutinho 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.
UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid said:
This will be a really valuable service for employers to help disabled people and those with health conditions start, stay and succeed in work. I encourage businesses across Scotland to use the UK Government backed online system and create more inclusive work environments.
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 government say the site will be constantly updated and improved over the next three years, informed by feedback given from the survey.
They add the service has been designed to give employers easy access to the advice they need to create the best environments for their staff with disabilities or long-term health issues, so that anyone from any background can start, stay and succeed in work.
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.
Over the next three years, the government say it will invest £1.3 billion in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. This money will go towards building up existing provision, including expanding employment support, to grow the economy and help people with the cost of living.