Disability
Disability equality checklist for leaders

A checklist for leaders on disability equality

Disability model

Have a clear commitment to the social model of disability and promoting the understanding that people are disabled due to the way the workplace is set up and the barriers this creates and not due to their impairments. 

Recruitment

Ensure that no question related to disability is asked prior to interview, apart from ensuring disability access. Applicants who are suitable for the job at the time of interview will not be placed at a disadvantage because they have an impairment.

For candidates with particular access requirements, reasonable adjustments will be made.

Sickness absence

Allow paid time off for rehabilitation, assessment or training.

Ensure that disability related sickness absence is not used as part of any criteria for redundancy, disciplinary, promotion or performance appraisals. Such absences shall not be counted towards any ‘trigger points’ within any sickness absence management policy.

For further information, please read the NEU’s Model Attendance Policy.

Adopt and Implement the Joint Unions protocol on the Management of Long Covid. Have a disability leave policy which allows for paid leave for the following:

  • Sufficient time and help to adjust to changed circumstances;
  • Paid leave to allow for reasonable adjustments for working conditions and arrangements to be made-this leave will not be recorded as sickness absence;
  • Counselling support;
  • Paid time off for medical appointments.

Ensure that employees receive full pay during a phased return to work as this practice may help to retain educators with disabilities in the workplace. Further information on a phased return to work is available here.

Communication and accessibility

Communicate in an appropriate and accessible format with all staff, students and families including using sign language, braille, audio, large font etc.

Ensure all facilities, including classrooms, toilets, staff rooms, canteens, assembly halls/theatres, social facilities whether in school or away from the workplace, shall be fully accessible and disabled staff and relevant trade unions will be consulted.

Technology should also be accessible to disabled staff to enable them to attend meetings via Zoom, Teams, Google Meet and other digital platforms

Are you aware of Access to Work and how to access funding? Information for employers is available here.

Health and safety

Ensure that all staff have equal access to all health and safety provision.  Safety inspections and risk assessments will include disability and access issues and specific safety requirements of disabled workers. Health and safety arrangements will not be used to justify discrimination against disabled staff.

Employees and union reps should be consulted when undertaking risk assessments.

Harassment/bullying

Ensure that the workplace is a safe and supportive environment for all staff and any harassment or bullying based on a person’s disability is investigated promptly, in line with grievance and disciplinary procedures.   

Reasonable adjustments

Recognise Long Covid as a disability and ensure reasonable adjustments are implemented for staff with Long Covid.  

Ensure there is a commitment amongst the leadership/senior management team to make reasonable adjustments as and when required.
Further information and examples of reasonable adjustments is available on the NEU website.

Consult with each individual – they are the experts on their experience and on what they need.

Disabled supply staff – check whether supply staff require any reasonable adjustments.

Ensure all supply staff are aware of the adjustments required in class for all SEN and disabled students in the classes they are taking.

Training/career development

Ensure all employees applying for promotion or training will be considered on their merit and shall not be discriminated against based on their disability.
   
Ensure that disability equality training is provided to staff and managers, so that they understand their obligations under employer policy, legislation, and the practice of reasonable adjustments.

Ensure the training provides a basic level of understanding and awareness of issues including the social model of disability and ‘hidden’ impairments.