Unison has called on the government to give disabled people a new right to work from home if they wish and for employers to face penalties if they do not comply.
The demand comes as the trade union publishes the details of a new survey, which shows that disabled employees working from home during lockdown say they have been more productive and have taken fewer days off sick than when they were doing their jobs in the office.
The survey of more than 4,000 disabled workers across the UK, found that half worked from home during the lockdown, which is a huge increase on the one in twenty (5%) who say they usually do this.
The survey found that nearly three quarters (73%) of disabled staff felt they were more productive or as productive working from home compared to their pre-lockdown place of work.
More than half (54%) felt they would benefit from working from home in the future, but nearly two in five (37%) believed their employer was unlikely to allow this.
UNISON says the findings show that many disabled workers are losing out by not being permitted to work from home.
However, the survey shows this arrangement can benefit employers as well as staff.
Many of those who felt they were more productive working from home said they were taking fewer sick days as they were able to manage their condition better.
‘This survey shows working from home can be done easily and actually increases productivity,’ said Unison’s assistant general secretary, Christina McAnea.
‘The pandemic’s demonstrated that there’s no longer any excuse for employers to turn disabled workers down if they request to work from home.
‘But one size doesn’t fit all and home working should be a choice. Disabled employees should continue to have the right to ask for reasonable changes that allow them to remain in the workplace.
‘For those who want to do their job from home, it’s time to give disabled workers a new right to do so,’ added Ms McAnea.
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