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Growing support for the Employee Retention Bill

The Employment Retention bill has received the support of Gordon Brown. The proposed legislation introduced by John Robertson, MP for Glasgow North West is designed to help employers retain staff who become disabled whilst employed.

The Draft bill is currently making its way through parliament, and has the express support of 183 MPs. Mr Roberston is hoping with the Prime ministers support he can get the bill passed through, some conservative MPs are rejecting the proposals. In a recent speech to parliament he commented

"Every quarter around 600,000 people become sick or develop an impairment as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act – and within one year 13%, that’s 78,000 people, have left work. From these, each year around 25,000 people permanently leave employment due to illness or disability, never returning – that works out at over a quarter of a million people since the Government came to power in 1997. This more than cancels out the creditable achievement of the Department of Work and Pension of helping 200,000 disabled people into work over the last decade.'

The MP for Glasgow North West cited the example of Roger Lewis, an employee of a local government social services department whose sight deteriorated to a point when he felt unable to work either effectively or safely without support. He was advised to go to a local doctor and get himself signed off work. when he refused to do so, he was sent home on full pay and told not to come in. After an unsuccessful redeployment attempt, he was given his notice.

Only after the threat of a hearing at an Employment Tribunal his employer finally changed their approach. After specialist training and support Roger was able to perform his duties to standard he was always capable of. Had it not been for Roger's determination he would not have made it that far, and unfortunately many in Roger's circumstances end up out of work - an estimated 25'000 each year.

The main pillar of the bill is to assess if an employee can continue in the work place after becoming disabled, The current Disability discrimination act puts far too much emphasis on proving inequality before such a problem can be resolved, and this maybe far too much to deal with if a person is coming to terms with a disability.

The Social Market Foundation estimates that improving the employability of disabled people would be worth £13 billion to the economy and financial analysis from Lloyds TSB has shown that for a typical manager who becomes disabled, the financial benefit of retaining them, weighed against the costs of making them redundant and hiring a new member of staff totals over £9,000.

Whether or not the bill becomes law , its clear that the best practise message within the bill will be utilised by employers and advised by diversity professionals.

Posted by, Asif Yusuf

 

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