Scope calls for disabled people’s right to furlough

Scope has urged the government to strengthen disabled people’s right to furlough after new research found many disabled workers have had their requests to be furloughed or redeployed denied.

The charity, which commissioned a survey of 1,004 disabled adults carried out by Opinium, highlighted the “countless ways” disabled people have reportedly been forgotten by the government throughout the pandemic.

The survey found that 22% of disabled workers were left with no option but to continue going to their workplace or quit their job, while 18% of disabled workers had been refused a request to work from home.

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An additional 11% of disabled workers had been refused a request to be furloughed and a further 11% of disabled workers had been refused a request to be redeployed into another role.

In September, Scope delivered an open letter to Number 10 signed by more than 30,000 disability campaigners calling for a “new deal for disabled people” to show they won’t be forgotten in the government’s recovery plan.

James Taylor, executive director of strategy at disability equality for 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.

“There is a wealth of evidence which shows many disabled people are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, and it’s growing by the day. Two thirds of all those who have died from coronavirus were disabled. Many disabled people are more at risk from Coronavirus and are extremely worried about what would happen if they were to get it.”

He added: “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. The government has pointed to existing equality legislation to provide this protection, but our latest research shows this is not working.

“The Government must take action now to stop the disastrous damage coronavirus and its economic fallout are causing to disability employment.”

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