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Working and claiming ESA

Usually your ESA isn’t affected if you:

  • do volunteer work
  • work and earn up to £20 a week
  • work and earn up to £99.50 a week doing work supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation
  • work less than 16 hours a week, earn up to £99.50 a week for up to 52 weeks

This is called ‘permitted work’.

You can also do ‘supported permitted work’ for less than 16 hours a week and earn up to £99.50 a week for up to 52 weeks.

Supported permitted work is supervised by someone from a local council or a voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for disabled people.

If you do permitted work, the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) will send you form PW1 to fill in and send back to them.

 

> Back to Support with benefits

How to keep healthy within work

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Good nights rest (not too much sleep but not too little).
  • Prepare the night before - what to wear, lunch, other family members.
  • Make time for travelling and plan journeys.
  • Organise and prioritise tasks for each day.
  • Have your lunch break away from the desk.
  • Ensure your work area is suitable – comfortable, light, suitable equipment.
  • Keep colleagues and managers in the loop about any worries you may have.
  • Clean or tidy your desk at the end of the day.
  • Keep a structure within your day.
  • Don’t overload yourself with tasks to do - learn to say “No” to others.
  • Ensure a diplomatic attitude within difficult situations.
  • Reduce time wasting tasks.
  • Have positive relationships with colleagues.
  • Wind down after work e.g. exercise, family time.
  • Understand that work place politics are a fact of work life.
  • Know your limits- only work within your scope of knowledge.
  • Care for co-workers e.g. take interest in them, don’t give them tasks to do that they cannot fulfil.
  • Understand what lowers your stress levels and utilize the techniques.
  • Leave space for thinking time within your day.
  • Book annual leave in advance to make sure you have something to look forward to.

 

> Back to Staying in work

Sharing personal information with your employer

Choosing whether to tell your employer about your mental health is a complex decision and needs thinking about.  Please think about this and maybe add your ideas below:

Pros

Cons

Being open can be a relief

May not get the job

More likely to get help and adjustments

May be stigmatised by other employees

Employment rights supported by The Equality Act

May receive questions which could be intrusive

Employers will be more aware of potential stressors

Have to work harder to gain respect/trust

 

If you choose to share information regarding your mental health, you should also consider:

  • When to tell -   E.g. On application, at interview, upon job offer, when working.
  • Who to share it with -  E.g. managers, Human Resources, colleagues. Remember, if the information is given to Human Resources, they would not necessarily have to tell your supervisor or colleagues. Also,  if you tell your manager you can request that this information is only shared on a “need to know basis.” 
  • How to phrase it - think about what you may say to people so that you are prepared for the subject cropping up or so that you are confident when you raise the matter.

Remember, this is a personal decision for you.  No two people are the same; what’s right for somebody else may not be right for you.

 

> Back to Staying in work

The DDA - Reasonable adjustments

The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) places a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to obtain and keep employment. What constitutes a reasonable adjustment is judged by how far it deals with the disability, the cost of the adjustment, the resources of the employer and the availability of assistance or specialist help. These are some guidelines to consider when providing the right support for people experiencing mental ill health.

1) Work Adjustments

  • allowing more frequent breaks
  • allowing workers to allocate their break time according to their own needs, rather than by a pre-determined schedule
  • allowing workers to shift schedules earlier or later
  • allowing workers to take a prolonged lunch break to attend a support meeting
  • allowing workers to use paid or unpaid leave for appointments related to their health
  • allowing an employee to work part-time temporarily (e.g. when first returning from absence)
  • arranging for job sharing
  • re-assigning tasks among workers
  • re-assignment to a vacant position

2) Environment adjustments

  • providing an enclosed office
  • providing partitions, room dividers, or otherwise enhancing soundproofing and visual barriers between workspaces
  • offering a reserved parking space (e.g. to workers with phobias or anxiety disorders)
  • blocking noise (e.g. by reducing the pitch or volume of telephone rings) increasing personal space
  • positioning the worker as far away as possible from noisy machinery

4) Using the existing work policies

  • extending additional paid or unpaid leave during a hospitalisation or other absence
  • allowing additional time for workers to reach performance milestones
  • extending the probationary period
  • allowing an employee to make phone calls during the day to personal or professional supports providing private space in which to make such phone calls
  • providing a private space for employee to talk with an identified mentor or buddy
  • allowing an employee to work at home
  • allowing workers to consume fluids at their work stations throughout the work day whilst maintaining health and safety (e.g. if needed due to medication side effects)

5) Providing Assistance

  • allowing a vocational specialist advisor to come to the work site
  • participating in meetings with the worker and his or her vocational advisor or other employment service provider

6) Providing Technological Assistance

  • providing software that allows the worker to structure time and receive prompts throughout the workday
  • providing a personal computer to enable an employee to work at home or at unusual hours

7) Special Supervisory Considerations

  • offering additional supervisory sessions
  • offering additional training or instruction on new procedures or information
  • offering information and training in the worker's preferred mode (verbally, visually, written or practical)
  • ensuring the supervisor or other appropriate person is available throughout the work day

8) Other adjustments

  • offering specialised training to help employees advance and achieve promotions
  • modifying a job description to suit an employee's unique talents
  • training supervisors to customise their management style
  • mental health awareness training/education for supervisors and co-workers
  • assigning a co-worker to act as "buddy" or “mentor"
  • establishing incentives for co-workers to become 'buddies’ or ‘mentors’

Source: Bob Grove et al, IAHSP King’s College London

 

Funding for some of the above may be available through Access to Work - contact the nearest Jobcentre Plus office for more details.

There's lots of very helpful information for employers, employees and job applicants on the Disability Rights Commission's website (www.drc-gb.org.uk) and from the Dept for Work & Pensions (www.gov.uk), ACAS (www.acas.org.uk)) Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) and the Rethink website have produced valuable resources about stress at work, health and employment, related legislation and good practice.

  • mental health awareness training/education for supervisors and co-workers
  • assigning a co-worker to act as "buddy" or “mentor"
  • establishing incentives for co-workers to become 'buddies’ or  ‘mentors’

Source: Bob Grove et al, IAHSP King’s College London

Funding for some of the above may be available through Access to Work - contact the nearest Jobcentre Plus office for more details.

There's lots of very helpful information for employers, employees and job applicants on the Disability Rights Commission's website (www.drc-gb.org.uk) and from the Dept for Work & Pensions (www.gov.uk), ACAS (www.acas.org.uk) Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) and the Rethink website have produced valuable resources about stress at work, health and employment, related legislation and good practice.

 

> Back to Staying in work

How to improve your employability skills

  • Manage your time and be on time. 
  • Plan your activities and be organised.
  • Communicate well both verbally and in writing.
  • Work as part of a team.
  • Prioritise important events/activities before others.
  • Have good personal hygiene and presentation.
  • Be flexible with your time and ideas.
  • Use research and ask questions to find out information from others, IT, or books.
  • Be aware of the business and your work role.
  • Know what is expected from you and know your skills.
  • Use and improve skills such as: IT, Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Make decisions and have good reasons for your decisions.
  • Be adaptable to other people’s opinions and views.
  • Be approachable and friendly.
  • Show interest.

 

> Back to Finding work

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