The Camden Society's specialist advisors offer practical support, advice and information to companies across all business sectors, and find that employers often ask similar questions on the way to becoming disability-confident.
Below are some frequently asked questions, and answers, that your company may find useful.
FAQs - And their answers
What does the law say about employing people with learning disabilities?
The Equality Act 2010 states that a person’s disability cannot be used to treat someone unfairly and this covers recruitment and employment. The Act requires that employers make reasonable adjustments for a person with a disability where needed.
Should I change anything in my recruitment processes?
Many people with learning disabilities struggle with complicated application forms, internet questionnaires and phone or formal interviews, so it may be helpful to look at alternative methods. Work trials are an excellent way to see if someone is suited to a role, and you can also use a more informal interview selection process. Liaising with an individual’s employment advisor and allowing them to attend the interview and support the person is also helpful. The advisor will not answer the questions, but can rephrase any difficult questions.
What is a reasonable adjustment?
A reasonable adjustment is an adaptation to a building, equipment, system, process or element of a job to make it accessible to someone’s disability. It has to be reasonable in cost, time and capacity.
- Installing a ramp to a building
- Getting speech software for a computer for a person with dyslexia
- Allowing for a British Sign Language interpreter to attend work with the individual
- Putting together a task list with symbols and not words where someone struggles with reading
- Adjusting the times that someone works
How do I pay for reasonable adjustments?
Not all adjustments will cost money – it could simply be changing a routine. If there is a cost element, you could look at this as part of a person’s personal development and training and fund it in this way. There is also a government grant you can apply for. This is called an 'Access to Work' grant that can be used to pay for reasonable adjustments.
How will employing someone with learning disabilities benefit my organisation?
There are many benefits to employing people with learning disabilities in your organisation – the main one may simply be that you are employing the best person for the job.
Other benefits include:
- Studies have shown that people with disabilities are often more reliable employees and work for a company for longer
- It show your commitment to you equal opportunities and diversity policy
- It is likely that many of the customers of your business may have a disability of some kind so you are representing your customer base
- It will increase your staff’s awareness of disability and ability to work with a diverse range of people
What support is there if things go wrong?
Access to Work funding (explained above) can be used to put reasonable adjustments in place to deal with issues at work. The Camden Society can work with employers and give training, advice or job coach support in these situations. Your local Jobcentre Plus may also be able to provide job coaches to support a person with a disability in work.
What if there is an issue, does my normal disciplinary procedure apply?
Yes it does. You should use the normal policies and procedures that you would follow with any member of staff. You would need to consider if these are accessible and understood by the individual. However you would need to consider if the issue has arisen because of the individual’s disability and whether there were any reasonable adjustments that could have been put in place. You can contact the Camden Society for further advice about this, or if a member of your staff needs support at a disciplinary meeting.
Do my staff need training to work with someone with learning disabilities?
Staff do not need specific training – it is about understanding a person with a disability and how they learn and work best. However, the Camden Society can offer employers and staff teams bespoke advice and training on employing and supporting people with learning disabilities.
Are there any health and safety or insurance issues when employing someone with a learning disability?
No. The normal employer requirements set by the HSE and normal employers' liability insurance is all you will need. You may wish to consider reasonable adjustments here though, such as a person being noise and light sensitive. You should also make sure that your employees understand all your health and safety procedures.
Have more questions?
Call our specialist employment advisors on 020 7485 8177 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trained and experienced staff will give you advice and information and will explain what free services and support the Camden Society can offer employers.
You can also download our free 72-page detailed guide.