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Disability equality toolkit: checklist for leaders

A checklist for leaders on disability equality.

Disability toolkit graphic

Disability equality toolkit

Useful tools for reps to help them support disabled members.

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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.


  • 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.

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.

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.
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