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Flexible working as the default position and disability workforce reporting

Introducing disability reporting for larger employers and making flexible working the default position will form the basis of consultations later in 2021.

To reduce the disability employment gap (28.6% in 2021), the government’s National Disability Strategy proposes a range of measures to improve the lives of disabled people. Of particular interest to employers is Part 1 on making the workplace more inclusive and accessible. It proposes the following:

Flexible working

By the end of 2021, there will be a consultation on making flexible working the default position ‘unless employers have good reasons not to’. The details of this will be crucial – and it’ll be interesting to see how it compares with the Labour Party’s proposals on this.

Disability workforce reporting

By the end of 2021 there will be a consultation on introducing workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff on the number of disabled people they employ. It will look at:

  • how employers can better understand the profile of their workforce in terms of disability
  • using a standardised question when asking employees about their disability status
  • the type of information and data employers could collect and ways to do this in a standardised manner
  • what information may already be held and cost issues
  • tools and guidance to help employers report in a consistent and effective way
  • lessons learned from existing reporting frameworks (e.g. gender reporting)
  • ways to maximise take up and employer engagement
  • what might be reported to the government, and whether the government should publish it

Best practice and advice

ACAS has developed an online advice hub providing information and advice on:

  • disability discrimination in the workplace
  • flexible working
  • rights and obligations around reasonable adjustments
  • fairness in redundancy situations
  • occupational health and mental health conditions

Carers’ leave

By the end of 2021 the government will set out how it proposes to introduce carers’ leave (an idea first mooted in the 2020 Budget) - a new in-work entitlement for employees with unpaid caring responsibilities, such as for a family member or dependents. It’s proposed that it’ll involve an entitlement to one week of unpaid leave each year.