Where a disabled employee requires support a publicly funded grant scheme is available. Access to Work may cover the cost of specialist assessments and the resultant recommended adjustments.
The employee, not the employer, must apply for the grant but they may be unaware of this. They can apply for the grant whilst in employment or before starting work as long as they have an offer letter, start date and a letter confirming their interview. If they apply for Access to Work within the first 6 weeks of employment, as the employer, you will not be required to provide any financial contribution towards the Access to Work grant. As such, it is important to address reasonable adjustments and Access to Work applications as early as possible, on being made aware that an employee has a disability.
Access to Work grants can also be used to address disabilities that an employee has only become aware of in the workplace, for example, where a computer screen is causing problems with vision.
If an occupational health assessment is required in order to understand the adjustments an employee may need, ensure that the assessor has experience in vocational rehabilitation (helping disabled people understand adjustments that help them stay in work) as not all assessors have experience in this area.
Find a vocational rehabilitation assessor
Access to Work is usually reviewed every year (to see if further funding is required) and can be renewed every 3 years. This helps ensure adjustments are up to date. Your employee may receive updates to their support technology empowering them to do their work even more effectively.
By supporting an employee with Access to Work, you are demonstrating that you have good employment policies and procedures, and that you value your employees.
Your employee should use the Government website to apply for Access to Work.
Read more in the government’s Access to Work Guide for Employers.