The Access to Work Scheme
Lancaster welcomes employees with disabilities and seeks to increase their participation in the workplace. The University is aware that some people face barriers to employment because of a disability, and we are committed to supporting new and continuing employees with disabilities, with assistance through the Access to Work Scheme.
Access to Work is a scheme operated by the Department for Work and Pensions to provide support to employees with disabilities. The scheme provides help to overcome obstacles to employment resulting from a disability. Assistance may be in the form of grants towards additional costs such as those arising from:
- The need for equipment to enable an employee to carry out tasks;
- Adaptations to the physical environment and existing equipment;
- Additional costs related to travel to work if public transport is not appropriate;
- A support worker (for instance, a reader, interpreter or communicator) in the workplace;
- Support to attend interviews
Access to Work can be used to support staff in part-time, full-time, permanent and temporary employment.
Employees must meet the definition of 'disability' as described in the Equality Act 2010, that is “…someone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term (i.e. likely to last for 12 months or longer) adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities.' This includes disabilities that only become apparent in the workplace.
Duration of Assistance
Support is granted for a maximum period of 3 years, after which employees can apply to have their support arrangements reviewed.
Employees who feel they may qualify for help from the Access to Work scheme are welcome to get in touch with Christine Quinn, Disabilities Adviser, Disabilities Service, Room A37A, University House, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW. Tel: 01524 592109.
How to Apply
1. Before making an application you should discuss your circumstances with your line manager and contact your HR Partner. You can find out who your HR Partner is by visiting the HR web site.
2. Ensure you meet the definition of Disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010 (see Eligibility above). You will need to provide a doctor's letter, or other appropriate evidence to confirm your disability.
3. Contact Access to Work at 01204 516480.
4. You will be sent an application form. You should complete and return this to Access to Work, together with a copy of your job description and a letter from the University confirming your employment. The department will provide this letter on request.
5. An Access to Work adviser will then be assigned to you to make arrangements for a workplace assessment. (This is in addition to the usual Health and Safety assessments that employers undertake with employees in the workplace.) The University will cover the cost of this assessment.
6. After the assessment, the Access to Work adviser will send a copy of the report to you and the HR Department, making recommendations about any support aids, equipment, adaptations or human support required, together with information about the financial arrangements.
7. The University will purchase the equipment, make adaptations and put in place any human support as agreed.
Timescale for Applying
New employees who are eligible should apply within six weeks of taking up their post. This is important as it will allow the University to recover 100% of approved support costs through Access to Work. Members of staff who have been in post for longer than six weeks, and have become disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, may apply for assistance from the Access to Work scheme at any time. In this case the University would be expected to pay the first £300 incurred, then 20% of the costs, with the rest of the approved costs up to £10,000 being met from the Access to Work Scheme. Access to Work will pay 100% of the approved costs incurred where these are over £10,000.
HR will receive a claim form to recoup an appropriate portion of the costs incurred and will be responsible for submitting a claim to the Access to Work adviser, together with the original invoices stamped as paid. The University will, where eligible, be refunded for all or a portion of the costs. The total time between making a claim and the reimbursement of costs incurred should be no more than 60 working days.
Sources of Further Information
Alan Sloan, Disability Employment Adviser (Access to Work Scheme), Lancaster Job Centre, Mitre House, Lancaster, 01524 302186.
Christine Quinn, Disabilities Adviser, Disabilities Service, Room A37A, University House, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW. Tel: 01524 592109.
Equality Act 2010, HMSO.
Disability Rights Handbook, 29th Edition, April 2004-2005, Disability Alliance, London.
Disability Alliance, Universal House, 88-94 Wentwork Street, London, E1 7SA (020 7247 8776 (Textphone available).
Department of Work and Pensions, Correspondence Unit, Room 540, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT (020 7712 2171).
Jobcentre Plus, 6th Floor, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 1HB.