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Acas responds to Government consultation on disabled people in the workplace

Friday 17 February 2017

Acas has published its response to the Government's consultation on tackling the disability employment gap, which draws on its own research and workplace expertise.

The Government Green Paper 'Improving Lives' identified mental health as the greatest cause of disability in the UK and Acas stresses the importance of considering mental as well as physical well-being in the workplace.

Anne Sharp, Acas Chief Executive, said:

"Helping people with disabilities to enter and stay at work is important, both for their wellbeing and so employers benefit from their skills and abilities.

"It's important to recognise that mental health is the greatest cause of disability in the UK and affects one in six UK workers. Employers and employees need to understand the impact it can have on working life and the adjustments which may help.

"Creating the right workplace culture is crucial and starts from the top of organisations - leaders need to support and champion diversity and inclusion, so that practical measures are taken to help disabled people into work and help them stay in work."

Acas' response covers:

Getting disabled people into work

  • Fair and transparent recruitment processes which use a range of approaches to ensure maximum accessibility.
  • Getting the basics right, such as accessibility of workplaces.

Helping disabled people stay in work

  • Making sure that managers have the awareness and skills to understand individual needs and provide the right support.
  • Sharing good practice and experience across and between organisations.

Responding in the right way when disabled people 'fall' out of work

  • Applying clear and consistent attendance and return to work policies.
  • Enabling employees to contribute to how their health issues are managed at work.

Developing a strategic approach to managing the whole person on their journeys in and out of work

  • Consider developing 'workplace passports' that provide written information to support conversations about, for example possible stressors or environmental challenges a disabled person might face on returning to work.
  • Consider developing guidance on corporate reporting of the recruitment and retention of disabled workers.

The full response is available at

Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries please contact Lou Owen, Marketing and Media Manager, on 0207 210 3920 / For out-of-hours media enquiries please call the out of hour's duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.
  2. One in six workers statistic from
  3. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees, which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.