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Report Finds Employment Inequalities After “Time Out” Penalty

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Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank, has produced a report that highlights differences in employment prospects between disabled people and non-disabled people who have been unemployed for over a year. The publication finds that the odds of a disabled person returning to work after this period of time are reduced at twice the rate of non-disabled person. This information comes ahead of the Government’s Green Paper on improving disability employment.

Time spent out of work is a key factor of the chances of getting another job for all groups – but it is particularly crucial for those with disabilities. The analysis shows that 16 per cent of disabled people who have had a job within the past year re-enter work each quarter. This falls to just 2.4 per cent for those who left a job more than a year ago, meaning the chance of re-entering after a year out is 6.5 times lower than in the first year of unemployment.

Importantly, this ‘time out’ penalty is more than twice the size of that for non-disabled people, who are only three times less likely to re-enter employment after a year out of work than in the first year after exiting.

The report argues that the current policy focus on disabled people on benefits is therefore seriously misguided. Being assessed for disability benefits after leaving employment can take between nine months and one year: six months in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay followed by at least three months spent waiting for an assessment after making an Employment and Support Allowance claim. By this point, the odds of re-entering work have fallen considerably.

The Government has made clear its commitment to improving employment outcomes for disabled people. This includes real-terms spending increases in this parliament, and a much more health-focused back-to-work programme – the Work and Health Programme – to replace the Work Programme next year.

However, the Resolution Foundation estimates that under current plans even a high-performing Work and Health Programme would only support 20,000 disabled people per year into work. This approach alone will make very little dent in the Government’s ambition to halve the disability employment gap, which the Foundation estimates will require a 1.5 million increase in the number of disabled people in work by 2020.

The report calls for the forthcoming Green Paper on disability employment – due to be published later this year – to consider a radical new ‘damage prevention’ approach to bring support to people with disabilities not when they are on benefits but before they exit the labour market and during periods of sickness absence.

The Foundation proposes that the Government sets a target to reduce the number of disabled people leaving employment, to sit alongside the ambition to halve the disability employment gap. To meet that target the Foundation calls for a major focus on retaining links between a firm and an employee. That should include the introduction of a statutory ‘right to return’ period of one year from the start of sickness absence, and a government rebate on Statutory Sick Pay costs for firms who support employees to make a successful return during this period.

In addition, the Foundation highlights the potential of the new Fit for Work service, an occupational health and rehabilitation service for employees on sick leave introduced by the Government last year. However, it is concerned that restricted entry routes and low referrals are hampering its chances of success. The Foundation therefore recommends that the service is opened up to the self-employed; that employees are allowed to initiate engagement (rather than just GPs and employers); and that incentives for both firms and employees to engage with Fit for Work are introduced.

The Foundation also suggests that the Access to Work programme – which provides grants to workers with health problems and disabilities and is widely regarded as a success – is expanded. 

Laura Gardiner, Senior Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Helping people with health problems or a disability to enter and remain in work is a major concern in an ageing society, and the key challenge to overcome if we are to achieve the Chancellor’s goal of full employment.

“The current focus on supporting people after they have been assessed for benefits is misguided, with help arriving too late and on too small a scale for the millions of people who need it.

“A ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach that improves support and incentives in the workplace and during periods of sickness absence should be at the centre of the Government’s forthcoming Green Paper on boosting disability employment. Such an approach would mean fewer workers have to experience the stress of being out of work, employers see a reduction in their staff turnover and the Government can make faster progress in its laudable ambition to halve the disability employment gap.”   

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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