PCS Celebrating Disability History Month - It matters to everyone

18 Nov 2020

Many still have a very stereotypical idea and image of a disabled person and this can lead to a misunderstanding of the term ‘disabled’ or misconception of disability itself.

The definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 is very broad and can cover a wide range of conditions or, for purpose of the Act, ‘impairments’.  Not all impairments are obvious, for example, mental health issues, reduced hearing, or diminished sight conditions might be considered ‘invisible disabilities’. 

If left unsupported our disabled members can face severe difficulties at work, find themselves denied opportunity and so the ability to progress. This in itself can lead to frustration, stress, and a deterioration of mental health.

Know your Rights

People can move through their working life in DWP with impairments that fall under the definition of disability and not even realise that they have rights to:

  • reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010
  • an extended trigger point under Attendance Management
  • single days’ absence being discounted from AM if they are related to that impairment
  • assistive software and equipment
  • additional breaks and support

This year’s Disability History Month will fall between 18 November to 20 December 2020, with the theme ‘Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?’

In PCS we advocate tirelessly for our members to access their rights to an accessible workplace. Here are some common impairments that could fall under the Equality Act definition of disability:

  • menopause and menstruation
  • asthma
  • cancer – from day one of diagnosis and continually from then even after recovery
  • migraine
  • carpal tunnel
  • dyslexia
  • anxiety

The definition is set out in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. It says you’re disabled if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment
  • your impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to do normal day-to-day activities (could last 12 months)

So contact your local rep and have a discussion if you feel this could apply to you. We are here to advocate for a better working life for our members and will be happy to advise and support you in establishing your rights. Or in reviewing any agreements already in place.

If you know of any non-member that might benefit from PCS support, please point them in the direction of the website.

Remember PCS is your voice in the workplace.

Further reading

Read PCS DWP president Martin Cavanagh’s words

https://www.pcs.org.uk/equality/equality-journals/disability-matters/disability-matters-issue-2-2020

https://intranet.dwp.gov.uk/section/working-dwp/human-resources/work/diversity-and-inclusion/disability-and-mental-health/accessibility/workplace-adjustments-and-other-support

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