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Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration is being given to enacting anti-discrimination legislation to make unlawful discrimination against disabled people in employment and other areas modelled on the recent American Disabilities Act; and if he will make a statement.

The consultative document "Employment and Training for People with Disabilities", which was published on 29 June, sets out various options for encouraging the employment of people with disabilities. What action to take will be considered in the light of the comments we receive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is being done to ensure that the 3 per cent. quota for the employment of disabled people is being met.

A number of specific steps are taken by the Employment Service which include:

—an annual postal inquiry, into the extent to which employers within the scope of the scheme (those with 20 or more workers) are employing registered disabled people;
—employers revealed by the inquiry to be employing less than the 3 per cent. quota are informed of their duties and obligations under the scheme, including the need to obtain permits before engaging other than registered disabled people;
—authorised officers conduct a continuing programme of inspections of the record which employers who are within scope of the scheme arc obliged to keep;
—wide distribution of the booklet "Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts 1944 and 1958. Employers obligations: Notes for Guidance", and of the Employment Service's code of good practice on the employment of disabled people.
However, the main thrust of the Department's efforts in this area is through disablement resettlement officers in actively helping the resettlement of people with disabilities; and by disablement advisory service teams in promoting constructive employment policies towards people with disabilities.