One in five disabled workers have had their requests to be furloughed, work from home, or be redeployed rejected by their employers, a new study has shown.
Disability equality charity Scope found that 22% of disabled staff were “left with no option” but to continue going to their workplace or quit their job.
The organisation is now urging the government to strengthen disabled people’s right to furlough.
James Taylor, executive director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said: “It’s a sad indictment of the attitudes and views towards disability that disabled people are being left with no other option but to quit their job so they can stay safe, or take their chances with a deadly virus. Disabled people’s rights to furlough must be strengthened.”
Scope’s survey of 1,004 disabled adults found that 18% had been refused a request to work from home; 11% had been refused a request to be furloughed; and 11% had been refused a request to be redeployed into another role.
Taylor added: “Many disabled people are more at risk from Coronavirus and are extremely worried about what would happen if they were to get it.
“Furlough is a vital safety net for disabled people who don’t feel safe in the workplace, but whose jobs cannot be done from home. If it’s left down to employer discretion, there’s no guarantee disabled people who don’t feel safe will be able to get this protection.
“The Government has pointed to existing equality legislation to provide this protection, but our latest research shows this is not working.
“Giving people who were on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable list the automatic right to furlough will stop people being forced into making impossible choices.”
In a statement, the Treasury said: “Employers must ensure the safety of those with disabilities when considering working arrangements, including whether work can be completed remotely, and it is for employers to decide whether to make use of the furlough scheme.”