HR advice from Kerry Mercer, HR Advisor at FDR Law
Q: What is Access to Work?
A: Access to Work is a Government scheme where employees and job applicants with a disability can apply for a grant to pay for practical support to help either start employment or stay in work.
Practical support could mean things like paying for the cost of special equipment, fares to work, a support worker or job coach to help you in the workplace or a communicator at a job interview. The level of grant will depend on individual circumstances.
The criteria for grant eligibility is that you:
- have a disability or health condition that would affect your ability to work
- are 16 years old or above
- are resident in England, Scotland or Wales
- have a paid job, a job interview or about to start employment, work experience or an apprenticeship
Your disability or health condition must either affect your ability to do a job and must also either be likely to last at least a year or have already lasted at least a year. Where you have a mental health condition, it must affect your ability to do a job and mean you need support to start a new job, reduce absence from work, or stay in work.
The Access to Work grant can be applied for online at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/apply. An advisor will then contact the employer and may need to visit you at work.
If you are eligible, employers would encourage you to apply for an Access to Work grant either before starting work or within six weeks of your start date as the grant may then cover all of the agreed costs, rather than just a proportion of them.
It’s worth noting that as a Government scheme, it will be the advisor’s decision whether to award a grant. Employers will not have responsibility, liability or control over the decision-making process.
For HR advice and support contact Kerry Mercer at FDR Law on 01925 230000 or email Kerry.Mercer@fdrlaw.co.uk