The Government has issued updated guidance increasing the scope of Access to Work to include support for disabled employees working at home, due to Covid-19.
Business Disability Forum has welcomed the announcement, which includes covering the cost of support for people to carry out their roles from home. Other changes include measures to prioritise new claimants – particularly key workers and those beginning new roles; introduction of remote assessments; and a 6-month extension of all existing grants where there are no changes in an individual’s circumstances.
The non-profit business and disability organisation has, however, questioned why this information has been communicated so late into lockdown.
Diane Lightfoot, CEO at Business Disability Forum, said: “We are pleased to see the Government has recognised the need for increased flexibility around Access to Work at this current time. Access to Work is a lifeline for many disabled people, covering the costs of the specialist support and tech they may need to carry out their roles – adjustments which are available in people’s usual place of work, but not necessarily available in their homes.
“But given the importance of Access to Work, we are surprised that it has taken the Government so long to officially communicate the changes and are concerned by the unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty that this may have caused some claimants.
“We know that managing the health and wellbeing of all staff, but particularly colleagues with disabilities and long-term conditions, is a matter of particular concern for our members, at present.
“We also know that communication around Access to Work has long been an issue, and one which has affected past take up. Therefore, we call on the Government to make communication a priority and to ensure that the updated guidance is communicated as widely as possible and in a range of accessible formats.”
Business Disability Forum is a non-profit organisation working with over 300 businesses and organisations, offering informed advice on issues affecting disabled people in the workplace and as consumers.
The latest guidance on Covid-19 and Access to Work can be found on the Gov.uk website [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-factsheet/access-to-work-factsheet-for-customers#claiming-access-to-work-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak]