Access to Work – A New Grant to Help Disabled Islanders in Employment

Monday 8 January 11:20

The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, has today (8 January 2018) launched Access to Work, a new grant to help people with disabilities or long-term health conditions start a new job, stay in their existing role or return to work after a health-related issue.

Access to Work, which is launching as a one-year pilot scheme, can help to fund essential workplace aids or equipment by providing grants of up to £5,000 to locally qualified Islanders with sensory, mobility or other physical disabilities. Items covered by the scheme may include ergonomic office equipment, specialised seating, as well as screen-reading or text software to support those with learning disorders such as dyslexia.

Deputy Pinel commented: “I am delighted to be launching this new grant. We recognise that some people with long-term health conditions or disabilities need extra support in the workplace and, in some cases, this may be an obstacle to them staying in their current role or finding a new job. Where specialist equipment or furniture may overcome this problem, Access to Work is designed to help.

“For me, one of the key points in the Disability Strategy for Jersey is that there is clear evidence that working can help improve quality of life and wellbeing for people with disabilities. We know that there are many people with disabilities or long-term health conditions with important and transferable skills, and who make productive and valuable employees. The Social Security Department is already working on the legislation that will help protect people with disabilities against discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. However, Access to Work is designed to give practical and positive support to individuals.”

The Disability Strategy for Jersey, which was published in May 2017 (see notes), explains that 14 per cent of the Island’s population are disabled and that 28 per cent of disabled Islanders say that they have a lot of difficulty in getting the type or amount of paid work they want. It suggests that someone with a disability is almost twice as likely to be unemployed as someone without a disability but, for those disabled Islanders who are able to, working contributes to their wellbeing and life satisfaction.

Access to Work is only open to people who are already employed or who have a firm job offer and who have Entitled or Entitled to Work residential status. To find out more and apply online, visit Employers who are interested in the Access to Work grant for their employees should ask their employees to apply directly.

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