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Disability changes to cost more

12 January 2011

by a staff reporter

THE Church of England has been told it must pay higher contributions to­wards making its workplaces access­ible for disabled employees.

New rules governing the Govern­ment’s Access to Work funding mean larger organisations must pay more for disabled equipment. Employers with fewer than nine staff need pay nothing towards the costs.

The Church of England is classed as a large organisation, the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said.

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, had sought to have the Church recognised as a col­lection of dioceses. In a parlia­mentary written answer, Lord Freud said: “Changes to the Access to Work pro­gramme were put in place on 1 April 2010 to improve take-up among under-represented groups, including people working for smaller employ­ers. As a result, where employer con­trib­utions are required, larger em­ploy­ers have been asked to contribute more, allowing smaller employers to pay less or nothing.

“In this context, the Church of England is considered to be a larger employer, with more than 250 employees.”

The change means that the Church will now have to pay £1000 towards the cost of equipment and support for any disabled employees. The rest of any cost will be met by the Access to Work fund.

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