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Disabled workers requests to WFH denied

Disability equality charity Scope is urging the government to strengthen disabled people’s right to furlough, as they are forced to choose between staying safe from COVID-19 and going into workplaces.

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Scope: "Furlough is a vital safety net for disabled people who don’t feel safe in the workplace"
Scope: "Furlough is a vital safety net for disabled people who don’t feel safe in the workplace"

As part of the charity’s “We Won’t Be Forgotten” campaign, a survey of more than 1,000 disabled adults was carried out by Opinium. The campaign has been highlighting the countless ways disabled people have been forgotten by the government throughout the pandemic.

 

The research found:

  • 22 percent of disabled workers were left with no option but to continue going to their workplace or quit their job;
  • 18 percent of disabled workers had been refused a request to work from home;
  • 11 percent of disabled workers had been refused a request to be furloughed;
  • 11 percent of disabled workers had been refused a request to be redeployed into another role.

James Taylor, executive director of strategy at Scope, said disabled people’s rights to furlough must be strengthened: “Furlough is a vital safety net for disabled people who don’t feel safe in the workplace, but whose jobs cannot be done from home. If it’s left down to employer discretion, there’s no guarantee disabled people who don’t feel safe will be able to get this protection.

 

“The government has pointed to existing equality legislation to provide this protection, but our latest research shows this is not working.

 

“Giving people who are on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable list the automatic right to furlough will stop people being forced into making impossible choices.

 

“The government must take action now to stop the disastrous damage coronavirus and its economic fallout are causing to disability employment.”

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