Sarah Newton - Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work - has urged workplaces to disclose the proportion of disabled staff they employ in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion and close the disability employment gap.
The Government is recommending large employers use a ‘voluntary framework’ in order to capture this data.
Responding to this announcement, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
“Mind has long been campaigning to close the disability employment gap. Employers are increasingly taking mental health at work more seriously – for example by signing up to take part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index - a benchmark of best policy and practice when it comes to supporting employees experiencing poor mental health. The announcement of a reporting measure is a good start when it comes to increasing transparency surrounding mental health in the workplace. However, this is a voluntary scheme, and the Government does not currently plan to collate or report the results. This is a missed opportunity. A major barrier to those of us with mental health problems getting into and staying in work is employer attitudes. If we’re to get to a point where all employers recognise the value of employing a diverse workforce, including people whose mental health may have prevented them working previously, the Government needs to make this reporting mandatory and publish the findings in the near future.
“Last year’s independent ‘Thriving at Work’ employment review made it clear that employers need to do more to support the mental health of their staff and improve the workplace culture. The report made recommendations to Government and the NHS as employers, which were accepted. Now we need to see these implemented and for the Government to go even further and lead by example. The outcomes of the NHS long term plan, the Government’s reviews of workplace protections and Statutory Sick Pay, and the delivery of Universal Credit are all part of the picture relating to work and mental health. It’s important these things are all acknowledged together if we are serious about removing the barriers disabled people face in reaching their individual ambitions.”
We need MPs to vote against these regulations which create a real risk for people with mental health problems. And we need as many people as possible to join us.