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Government increases funding for disabled people in the workplace

Awareness of the Access to Work scheme – which provides grants to support disabled people in the workplace – needs to be increased, after the government raised the cap on funding by around £15,000.

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme set up to provide funds to help more disabled people start or stay in work. But in October 2015, the government introduced a cap on the annual grants available per person, meaning that many disabled workers – many of them deaf – saw their annual grant on disability-related work support fall to £43,100.

This move has been reversed and, from April, the annual cap on the grant will return to £57,200, and will be up-rated annually on that basis, the government said.

Businesses and public ‘strongly support’ keeping EU workers’ rights after Brexit

Britons are strongly in favour of retaining EU employment laws and regulations after the UK leaves the European Union, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), highlighted the current preference for retaining and even strengthening EU-derived working standards, including the Working Time Regulations and agency workers’ rights.

The IPPR published the poll as part of a series of briefings exploring the public’s perspective on whether the UK should continue to align with EU rules and regulations, including EU-derived employment and financial standards – or if it should seek to diverge from established legislation and distance itself from Europe’s economic and social model.

The polling revealed that 73 per cent of the public supported retaining or strengthening the Working Time Directive, while just 12 per cent favoured loosening or removing completely regulations providing equality in temporary agency worker rights.

Surprise at low uptake of employment tribunal refunds

Only £1.8m paid out so far.

The first official analysis of the initial level of claims for employment tribunal fee refunds following their abolition in July 2017 suggests uptake has been slow – but experts warned the government will have to pay more out in coming months.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) received more than 4,500 applications for tribunal fee refunds between October and December 2017, after the Supreme Court ruling that the fees were unlawful led to their abolition and the launch in October 2017 of a refund scheme for eligible claimants.

The government said it had so far refunded 2,151 payments to claimants, totalling £1,808,310, according to newly published figures by the Ministry of Justice.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, it was estimated that the government may have to repay up to £33m overall in refunded fees to claimants who paid for employment tribunal claims between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. Based on the initial uptake rate, the government could expect to refund around £10.8m during 2018.

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