ACCESS TO WORK

 

Help for disabled workers and their employers NUT briefing notes

 

Access to Work is a Government scheme which was introduced in 1994, bringing together a range of services available to people with disabilities and their employers.

What Access to Work Offers

* Communicators for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

* A part-time reader or assistance at work for a blind worker.

* Equipment or adaptations to existing equipment to suit individual needs.

* Adaptations to a car, or taxi fares or other transport costs for someone who cannot use public transport to get to work.

* Alterations to premises or to the working environment so that an employee with a disability can work there.

Access to work is intended to be flexible to suit each person's needs in their particular job. It may be possible to have help with items not included in the above list.

How to find out more

The Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) who can be contacted through the local Job Centre, can advise on the different kinds of help available under Access to Work. The DEA is part of an Employment Service Disability Service Team.

The DEA can also provide advice to employers on recruiting people with disabilities.

The NUT's Role

The NUT, together with the TUC and disability organisations, campaigned to save Access to Work when it was frozen in 1995. As a result, the 1996 budget for Access to Work was increased.

The Employer's Contribution

There is a mandatory employer contribution for support for people in employment.

Employers of people already employed when they apply for Access to Work will be expected to meet all costs up to £300 and 20 per cent of costs up to £10,000 for the first year. The Employment Service will meet the remaining 80 per cent of costs between £300 and £10,000 and all costs above £10,000.

The £300 threshold does not apply in the second and subsequent years.

The Arrangements in Detail

Unemployed disabled people: 100 per cent of approved costs to be met by Access to Work

Travel to work costs: 100 per cent of approved costs to be met by Access to Work

Communicator support at interviews: 100 per cent of approved costs to be met by Access to Work

Other support for disabled people in employment: Year 1 AtW will meet up to 80 per cent of approved costs above a costs threshold of £300 and 100 per cent of all such costs in excess of £10,000.

Years 2 & 3 Access to Work will meet up to 80 per cent of approved costs and 100 per cent of all such costs in excess of £10,000. (There is no £300 costs threshold in years 2 & 3)

Where a commitment is made to provide ongoing Access to Work support, this will be for a maximum of three years. The Employment Service will review cases requiring longer term support.