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Access to Work Programme: Musculoskeletal Disorders

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 140735, tabled on 20 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of modifications to Access to Work during the covid-19 outbreak on support for people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Answered on

25 January 2021

Recognising the challenges Covid-19 has for employers and disabled people, Access to Work introduced a new more flexible offer to support disabled people to move into and retain employment. The new flexible offer complements support provided by employers and contains a combination of support that can be tailored to meet the needs of new Covid-19 working arrangements. The offer includes:

  • support to work from more than one location,
  • a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support,
  • mental health wellbeing support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding,
  • travel-to-work support for those who may no longer be able to safely travel by public transport due to the nature of their disability, and
  • prioritising Access to Work applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.

Recognising the benefits equipment/support within the workplace provides, Access to Work can contribute towards the costs of transferring that equipment or where working from both the office and home occurs Access to Work can consider providing funding for additional equipment/support to enable the disabled person to retain their job.

Background

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. The grant provides personalised support and can provide workplace assessments, travel to/in work, support workers, specialist aids and equipment to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or retain employment. And can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

We have not carried out a formal assessment of the new offer, but following its immediate introduction telephone call to Access to Work increased by approximately 40%.

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