Our guidance on disability equality at work

Last updated: 15 Nov 2023

Bectu believes people are disabled by external barriers and that, by removing these physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from accessing work and services and living independently, we can ensure their full participation, to everyone’s benefit.

We encourage our representatives to adopt this social model, based on what disabled people can do rather than what they cannot do, in workplace negotiations.

It distinguishes between impairment – a characteristic or long-term trait that may result from an injury, disease or condition – and disability, which is experienced by people with an impairment when society does not take sufficient account of their needs.

It compares to the medical model, which presents impairments as the cause of disadvantage and exclusion, rather than considering how to make workplaces accessible.

We provide advice and guidance to members and representatives that includes:

  • understanding what reasonable adjustments may be required in the workplace
  • ensuring that absence management policies take account of individuals’ disabilities where necessary
  • negotiating a period of disability leave, to enable the employee and employer to adjust where an individual has become disabled or their disability changes in some way
  • ensuring that employers take account of disabilities issues in all their policies related to recruitment and retention, promotion, training, redeployment and redundancy.

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