According to the National Autistic Society, around700,000are diagnosed with autism in the UK. In the past decade there have been many awareness campaigns to help employers recognise the benefits of hiring autistic talent into their business and now businesses have access to a number of specialist training providers to ensure they are creating inclusive opportunities.
However, we know that employers may not always get this right and it is important that you, as an autistic job seeker, know your employment rights.
We want you to know that your workplace rights are protected by theEquality Act 2010, which is a primary legislation passed by the UK Parliament to bring together a number of prior acts and regulations, including the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.
How does Equality Act 2010 benefit you?
The Equality Act 2010 protects you from:
Direct discrimination: Direct discrimination involves not hiring you because it is assumed that you won’t be able to fulfil a job role.
Indirect discrimination: This happens when a company puts you at a disadvantage compared to your allistic colleagues.
Reasonable adjustments: An employer should make appropriate adjustments for you to do your work comfortably. These adjustments should be designed on a case-by-case basis, since autism is a spectrum condition and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.
What is Access to Work and why should you be informed?
Access to Workis a government grant that’ll help you pay for various work-related support services depending on your needs and circumstances. If you receive the grant, you won’t have to pay it back. It covers the following:
Communication support at job interviews
Mental health support
Job coach or support worker
Note that Access to Work will help you find or stay in your job, but it won’t pay for reasonable adjustments. Your employer must make the necessary adjustments to help you do your job well.
How to apply for Access to Work?
You canapplyfor Access to Work either online or by phone. You’ll be asked to provide:
Your contact details
Your workplace address and postcode
The contact information of someone as a workplace reference (they won’t be contacted without your permission)