The government has published a new strategy setting out ideas to help more disabled people and those with health conditions get into and stay in work.
The disability and health employment strategy: the discussion so far paper unveiled plans to support employers to recruit, retain and develop disabled people and those with health conditions, through a new offer including a ‘One Stop Shop' and a revamped Disability Symbol.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is also aiming to develop a new gateway to employment services, to ensure that disabled people and people with health conditions get the right support at the right time to enable them to get into or get back into work.
Plans include greater personalisation, better integration of local services, better use of local providers and a greater focus on supported employment, as well as developing an evidence base around effective ways to support individuals into employment.
The DWP will also focus on approaches for supporting people with mental health problems to get into work.
This will potentially include better alignment between employment and health services and building on the proposals outlined by the Task and Finish Group and the Psychological Wellbeing and Work project.
Minister for Employment, Esther McVey, said: "This strategy is a really important step in the discussion about what we need to do to ensure employers understand the benefits of hiring disabled people and people with health conditions, and that people get the right individualised support from the government."
Mike Cherry, national policy chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: The FSB has long called for better communication on the support available to small businesses when employing a disabled person.
"As such, the announcement of a new ‘One-Stop-Shop' providing small firms with advice and assistance is encouraging and should help more employers recruit and retain employees with health conditions or disabilities."
Currently there are 11.5 million working age people in Great Britain with a long-term health condition. More than half (6.5 million) are classified as disabled under the Equality Act definition.
According to the second Quarterly Labour Force Survey this year, the employment rate for working age people with a long-term health condition is 58%, compared with 77% for working-age people without a health condition.
For disabled people it is lower, at 45%, and for individuals with a mental health condition it is only 37%.
The paper will be followed by a delivery paper next year, which will build on feedback to the strategy.
Compared to 6% of 55-64 years olds
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