With over 90% of long-term disabilities and conditions not immediately visible, it’s likely that everyone works alongside more colleagues with disabilities than they realize. Just as an individual’s disability may not be visible, it may also not be obvious that some aspect of their job makes their job more difficult because of its impact on their condition. The individual employee is the person who will best understand what might solve the problem.
The question of whether or not a person’s state of health corresponds to the legal status of disability must be decided by a court. Effective supervisors will ask everyone they manage if there is anything that can be done to improve the working conditions of their employees. Sensible employers can also create a mechanism for these conversations to lead to actions to support their employees.
Reasonable adjustments can include a whole range of things. For example, for an employee with diabetes, reasonable adjustments might include ensuring they have their breaks at set times so they can control their blood sugar levels or providing them with special equipment s he has eye problems. For someone with a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it might just be understanding that they may have to go to the bathroom more times than a typical employee, without having to explain why each time.
Although the raison d’être of passports is to support people with disabilities, a condition does not necessarily need to be formally recognized as a disability for the passport to be useful. In fact, the discussion and documented passport can also help colleagues who need adjustments for other reasons, such as family responsibilities.
A work passport is a live record of the adjustments that have been agreed between an individual and their supervisor to support them at work. As this is a “passport” this means that if the line manager changes or the individual changes location there should be no need to pick up the conversation as the arrangement travels with the employee . Without a passport-type arrangement in place, the individual may find themselves repeating the same conversation and having to justify their situation each time they have a new supervisor.
On behalf of the PDA Ability Network, Claire Hirst, Network Coordinator, said: “We welcome the introduction of Workplace Support Passports for Boots employees. This should help pharmacists address any disability-related issues that would otherwise prevent them from performing at their best. This should also help those managing the pharmacy team to support colleagues who have a passport in place, which can be particularly useful for relief pharmacists and other pharmacists who are not the line managers of members of the team. team, but manage them on some days. Boots is to be commended for this development.
Jayesh Ladva, PDA Regional Representative and member of the Boots/PDA Joint Union Equalities Task Force, said: “Disability passports are something we’ve been discussing with the company for some time and we’re delighted to see them being introduced. As a pharmacist employed by Boots myself, I encourage all of my colleagues to speak to their line manager and see if a change can help them remove disability-related barriers that impact their work.
Boots has announced the introduction of Workplace Support Passports for all of its workforce using measures such as:
- Posters sent to all workplaces, including a QR code that opens to an external webpage where a short animation explains the Workplace Support Passport.
- The passport itself and orientation documents are also available online for all staff.
- A task on the internal BootsLive system, requiring managers to familiarize themselves with the new tool.
Read the Boots brief here:
The PDA is also pleased to be able to highlight this initiative and encourage PDA members employed at Boots to use this tool where appropriate.
The PDA has long championed disability passports and urges other pharmacy employers to follow this example set by Boots. All employers should help employees with disabilities accept and maintain the reasonable necessary accommodations they require during their employment.
To be involved
- Join the PDA Ability Network here.
- Follow the PDA Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability
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