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Disability leave – employers stall

UCU is one of a number of unions pushing to establish disability leave entitlement for their members.  At the moment if a Bath University employee who is disabled needs to be away from work for reasons related to a disablity, this is counted as sickness absence.   This may mean that someone who has disability-related needs is put on to sickness monitoring that could ultimately lead to their dismissal     The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) published its report Enabling equality: furthering disability equality for staff in higher education in September 2011. The report identifies that higher education institutions are failing to meet their duties under the Equalities Act by failing to provide disability leave as a reasonable adjustment for disabled staff despite guidance being available since 2006.   UCU and other unions representing staff in HE have included a call for a national agreement on disability leave as part of the 2013 national pay talks, but  the employers indicated on May 9th that they were unwilling to negotiate a national agreement.  Employers have offered further discussions involving the Equality Challenge Unit and the collation of case studies from employers in the sector.  UCU has a policy on disability leave and David Skidmore raised the matter in the branch meeting on 8th May.   Here in Bath we have welcomed the news that the University’s Equality and Diversity Network has called on the University to develop a disability leave policy.

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