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A2W refused by employer

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LynWood
LynWood Community member Posts: 3 Listener
edited February 2022 in Work and employment
After a lengthy period of waiting, and only after my asking for a definitive answer, my employer has written to me stating that head office will not be willing to fund their part of the Access to Work scheme for which I had successfully applied. I have been off sick for the last year as my condition makes it impossible for me to do my job. I don’t know what to do next, as I have no contact with head office. My colleagues at the local store where I work do not appear to have had input into the decision. The refusal seems to be based on their concern that I will use the equipment outside of work (I have already told them that would not be the case) and risk to staff and customers in store (no risk assessment has been done). I am physically unable to carry out my job as is, but they seem to expect me to just accept their ruling and everything will magically be ok. Additional problems have arisen from the outsourcing of Occ Health to a commercial organisation (a sister company of Maximus in the US) who have been untruthful and dismissive, leading to my complaining about the treatment by their telephone adviser, which complaint was upheld and a vague apology issued. No real assessment has been made of my physical condition.

So, if I try to use the grievance procedure, I have no idea who to identify as the target of a formal grievance. Can I bypass that as I have tried to solve this informally? (This didn’t work as the local store seems to have none of the information used by head office to make their decision.) Do I go straight to ACAS?

It seems remarkable that a government department has identified barriers to my work, offered part funding and yet this can be ignored by my employer.

 I am currently claiming EAS and am in the Support group, meaning they do not expect me to look for work. But I am still officially on the employee roll, and could likely return tomorrow if the equipment recommended by A2W was provided.

NB: I work for a company who was decreed a ‘vital’ service during lockdown and made exceptional profits from that. Their shareholders dividend has risen exponentially as a result. There seems no reason for the refusal to spend about £800 on equipment vital for me to do my job.
The universe has had 13.7 billion years to do its stuff and it hasn't finished yet. Like the universe, I am heading for entropy so I refuse to worry about the cobwebs on the ironing pile.
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Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,012 Disability Gamechanger
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    @LynWood good afternoon and welcome to scope and out community, my first question would be are you a member of a union? they can often provide some help.
    I don't suppose it really matters that the employer made "exceptional profits" and paid dividends to shareholders, that's how it works.

    Would it be possible for you to fund the £800 yourself if that would mean an immediate return to work, it would also overcome their concerns about you using the equipment outside work as it would be yours.

    Your other point about colleagues not having had input is a little vague as you don't expand on what that input might have been.
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

  • kajala
    kajala Community member Posts: 2 Listener
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    HI, am new here as just joined it today. Having the input of your union is one very good point, if not get in touch with your local citizens advice bureau who can also give some advice on steps to take

    u will have to give as much details as possible and with a face to face appointment take along letters or copies of all email correspondence
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,012 Disability Gamechanger
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    My point was and remains that if It meant an immediate return was made possible by paying the £800 then isn't that an option?, I know I would consider it if in the same position, I don't see anything in that being "shocking", far from it.

    My other quite valid point was that it matters not if the employer made exceptional profits has little if any bearing on an individual A2W problem.
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,652 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
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    Hello @LynWood

    Welcome to the community, it's nice to see you join us and I hope you are well today.

    Sorry to hear about the situation you are in with your employment, I can see why it would upset you massively if a company you work for refused to pay or contribute to an £800 cost when you've known them to have made massive profits during the pandemic, I imagine that it doesn't make you feel overly valued as an employee. 

    You mentioned Acas in your post, and I do think it might be worth getting in contact with them for some professional advice about your situation, you can find their details on their website.

    I note the conversation above between woodbine and Mike and I hope you found their replies useful too, I just wanted to add something to the point made about paying for the adjustments yourself. Perhaps there could be some sort of middle ground you could come to with your employer, whereby you both make contributions towards the £800 total. I think you shouldn't have to, of course, ideally they would happily provide the funding for the adjustments themselves, however in the past I have known employers to ask others whether or not they would like to make a contribution towards the cost of the adjustments suggested by ATW.

    Whether that is common or even something employers are supposed to do I'm not sure, so I apologise if that is the case. In the situations I've known it to have happened in the past I would have no reason to question the intentions of the employer, and the employee being asked whether they want to make any contributions wasn't put under any pressure at all to say yes or no.
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  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,652 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
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    Thanks for your reply @mikehughescq, that does make sense, it could potentially throw up tricky situations further down the line if all the points you made there weren't accounted for.

    Just to be clear in case there was any confusion, I wasn't suggesting that the OP do anything that hasn't been approved by ATW. Of course, if it is something that ATW would not allow under the scheme, or that is generally not permitted by any of the involved parties, then it shouldn't be done. My intention was just to highlight situations I've known of previously where the employee has been asked whether they want to make a voluntary contribution to the cost.
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  • LynWood
    LynWood Community member Posts: 3 Listener
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    Oh gosh, I wander off for a bit and find all this on my return. Phone dying and heaven knows where the ipad is. Will respond soon but meanwhile, thanks to all of you. xxx
    The universe has had 13.7 billion years to do its stuff and it hasn't finished yet. Like the universe, I am heading for entropy so I refuse to worry about the cobwebs on the ironing pile.
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