There are many schemes and programmes designed to support employers to recruit and retain disabled workers. We've listed information here about Work Choice, Access to Work and Pathways to Work. Please note that Work Choice becomes operational in October 2010 when it replaces the existing Workstep and Work Preparation programmes.
Access to Work
Access to Work is a government-run programme delivered by Jobcentre Plus to help overcome barriers that disabled people come across in getting or keeping work. The programme helps by providing advice, an assessment of your employee's disability needs in the workplace and if required, a financial grant towards the cost of any necessary support. Access to Work enables disabled people to contribute to the success of your business.
Access to Work can provide a grant towards the additional employment costs resulting from an employee's disability that an employer would not normally be expected to provide.
To be eligible for Access to Work the applicant must be:
* in a paid job
* unemployed and about to start a job
* unemployed and about to start a work trial
* on permitted work
The person's disability or health condition must stop them from being able to do parts of their job, and this must be likely to last for 12 months or more.
Access to Work can pay towards specialist equipment an employee needs, adapting premises to meet their needs, or a support worker. It can also pay towards the cost of getting to and from work if the employee is unable to use public transport.
The programme is broken down into six elements, each offering a specific type of help:
* adaptation to premises and equipment
* communicator support at interview
* travel within work
* special aids and equipment
* support worker
* travel to work
Depending on your employee's circumstances, Jobcentre Plus may provide support under more than one of these elements.
Work Choice is a modular support programme for people with a disability. It is due to be introduced in October 2010 and is delivered across 28 contracts covering Britain. It is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions and delivered by a mixture of private, public and voluntary sector organisations.
Work Choice funds intermediary agencies to support disabled individuals and employers. It can be used to support someone to get a job and also to keep their job if it is at risk because of their disability. Everyone who has been on Employment and Support Allowance will be guaranteed a place on Work Choice if they are still unemployed after two years.
Work Choice has been designed around three modules; each one will provide a flexible support service that is responsive to the individual employment needs of disabled people.
Module one will provide help to customers with more complex support needs to find work.
Module two supports disabled people in employment and will last for up to two years. The Work Choice provider works with you as the employer and your employee to agree the support required in the work place.
Module three will provide longer-term support in the work place and will have a clear focus on the ongoing development of your employee through their career.
You can find out more about Work Choice on the Business Link website.
The Work Programme is the Government's new welfare to work programme which supports unemployed people to return to work. The Work Programme is there to support everyone except the most disabled people. It is delivered by a range of providers across Britain. You can find a list of providers here.