Workplace Disability Inclusion Goes Worldwide
Inclusivity is essential. And, thanks to the efforts of one company, 500 firms worldwide have agreed to make a point of focusing on disability inclusion in the workplace. Value-500, a global disability network that focuses on breaking down the stigma surrounding disability, has been pushing for the changes. As such, disability inclusion now has a place on the boardroom agenda. Thereby making the percentage of disabled staff members in large companies public knowledge.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Prior work in the disability inclusion sector has further enhanced accessibility for those who experience difficulties. Including navigating and gaining access to public services. In 2005 the ‘Disability Discrimination Act 2005’ (DDA), (later renamed the Equalities Act 2010.) made changes to access requirements when it came to public services. This law requires that all public buildings should have “reasonable access”. Though it is subjective, it is clear about the requirements needed for meeting it.
The Equality Act law states that any physical feature must be accessible. Be it from construction or design, if it makes it impossible or “unreasonably difficult” for a disabled person to access the premises, then the company must alter it or change it around. Usually using one of the following ways:
- Removal of the feature.
- Alteration to be made to the feature so as to no longer obstruct the access point.
- Providing reasonable means through which a person can avoid the feature.
- Providing a reasonable alternative for access or use of the service.
Recent Advancements in Inclusion
With the joint efforts of disability advocates and networks such as Value 500, disability inclusion is definitely on the rise. Of course, there are still many more companies that need to acknowledge their problems with accessibility and inclusion. However, Value 500 has successfully managed to get 500 of the world’s biggest firms to take a step forward. Thus acknowledging where they could improve. Among the companies that are agreeing to this new initiative are Twitter, Apple, Google, Sky, BBC, and Coca-Cola.
According to Value 500 research, there are no executives or members of senior management with a disability disclosure in FTSE 100 companies. These are the top 100 companies in the UK as placed in order of their monetary value (based on the stock exchange). Not only that but outside of the executive staff, there is a disability representation of only 3.2% on average throughout FTSE 100 companies. This is despite the fact that 18% of the UK population has a disability.
Additionally, there is further research into disability inclusion by Value 500 and Tortoise Media. Here, the companies did well to uncover the fact that only 12% of the largest companies in the UK actually report on the number of disabled employees they have. Furthermore, only 5% of those companies actually release board-level statements about disability and inclusion.
The hope is that by having such large companies signing up for the disability inclusion initiative, smaller companies will follow suit. As staffing levels and ratios become more widely available, we will be able to see the extent of disability discrimination within the workplace. Discrimination that has been covered up or swept under the rug for far too long. As such, we’re glad to see these changes coming into effect.