Employers should report on disability pay gap: New LSE report

If disabled people are to gain from future trends then disability needs to be at the heart of debate on the future of work
- Liz Sayce
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The Government should require larger employers (over 250 staff) to collect and publish core information on their employment and pay of disabled people, argues a new report from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). 

The new report, Switching Focus, published today (28 November) sets out a number of recommendations and calls for greater responsibility and leadership from employers and the Government in improving the disability employment gap (currently 30%) and pay gap (currently 15%).

Alongside greater transparency, the report calls for more financial support for employers. For example, it suggests a new fund that can be accessed by organisations when an employee with a fluctuating condition needs time off. This will mitigate any costs for the employer and remove anxiety about missing work for the individual.

Other recommendations include legislation changes to ensure new types of employment such as ‘gig’ jobs give people secure rights to adjustments at work. And action on newly emerging types of discrimination, such as the use of algorithms that screen job applicants on the basis of facial behaviour, as these can discriminate against people with visual impairments, strokes or speech impairments.

The report’s author notes the Government’s current focus on disabled people to tackle the problem themselves through requiring or supporting them to move towards work is unfair and ineffective.

Recent figures show disabled people are over 60 times more likely than employers to face sanctions for non-compliance with requirements. In 2015-16 disabled people were sanctioned 69,570 times for missing appointments or infringing work-related conditions of benefit payment, with resulting reductions in benefit. Employers in the same year were in effect ‘sanctioned’ only around 1,100 times when disability discrimination cases were either settled or won by a disabled person at Employment Tribunal*.

Commenting, report author Liz Sayce from the International Inequalities Institute at LSE said, “This report makes recommendations that place more responsibility on employers and Government. This would be fairer and it would also be much more effective. Work is changing, and if disabled people are to gain from future trends then disability needs to be at the heart of debate on the future of work.”

For a copy of the report Switching Focus: Whose responsibility to improve disabled people’s employment and pay? please visit and for an Easyread version, please visit

Behind the article

*Equality and Human Rights Commission. One year on: An update on discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal 2017 and Byrom R. Employment Tribunal statistics update: What do the new figures tell employers about claims and awards?  

For more information, please contact Liza Ryan, Institute Manager in the International Inequalities Institute on and 020 7955 7308.

The report results from a Fellowship funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Liz Sayce was Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK (and its legacy charity Radar) from 2007-2017, where she led work for equal participation for all, through programmes on independent living, career opportunities and shifts in cultural attitudes and behaviour. Liz is a member of the Committee of Healthwatch England and the Social Security Advisory Committee.