The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) consultation into statutory sick pay (SSP) seeks views on ways both government and employers can take action to reduce job loss related to ill health.
The consultation opens the door for further discussion on how chronic illnesses or disabilities are dealt with in workplaces across the UK. As disabled people and those with long-term health conditions are at greater risk of becoming out of work, this is a discussion that NHS workplaces are keen to be involved in.
The DWP consultation is taking place, therefore, as part of a wider trend towards codifying these support systems.
The NHS has introduced a new standard that places a sustained and targeted focus on the experiences of disabled staff working in the NHS; the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a new ten-point metric that will enable NHS organisations to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff.
The Interim people plan, published by NHS England/Improvement in June 2019, sets out the important interventions that improve the experience of staff, and outlines how the development of a new offer should explicitly set out the support an individual can expect from the NHS as a modern employer.
Improving equality through the new offer to all NHS staff will require action to embed the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and WDES. The WDES will ask all provider and foundation trusts to report and publish their data by 1 August 2019.
The WDES looks to compare the representation of disabled and non-disabled staff across organisations, alongside their experiences in terms of capability processes, harassment and bullying procedures and overall staff engagement.
Paul Deemer is head of diversity and inclusion at NHS Employers