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Disability

Disability Supports for Staff

UL is committed to providing equality of opportunity to people with disabilities in all aspects of employment. As part of this commitment, UL aims to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to employment, training, promotion and career development within the University.

Definition of Disability under the Employment Equality Act 1998 (section 2), disability is defined as:

  1. the total or partial absence of a person’s bodily or mental functions, including the absence of a part of a person’s body,
  2. the presence in the body of organisms causing, or likely to cause, chronic disease or illness,
  3. the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person’s body,
  4. a condition or malfunction which results in a person learning differently from a person without the condition or malfunction,
  5. a condition, illness or disease, which affects a person’s thought process, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or which results in disturbed behaviour, and shall be taken to include a disability which exists at present, or which previously existed but no longer exists, or which may exist in the future or which is imputed to a person.

     

       Under Section 16 (3) the Act provides that:

  • For the purposes of this Act, a person who has a disability shall not be regarded as other than fully competent to undertake, and fully capable of undertaking, any duties if, with the assistance of special treatment or facilities, such person would be fully competent to undertake, and be fully capable of undertaking those duties.
  • An employer shall do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of a person who has a disability by providing special treatment or facilities to which paragraph (a) relates.
  • A refusal or failure to provide for special treatment or facilities to which paragraph (a) relates shall not be deemed reasonable unless such provision would give rise to a cost, other than a nominal cost, to the employer.

The University of Limerick has an Equality and Diversity Policy and plans are underway to commence a consultative process to implement a Disability Code of Practice for the Employment of People with Disabilities in 2021.

The University has a clearly stated policy on all recruitment advertisements welcoming applications from all sections of the community;

“The University of Limerick holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advancing equality in higher education.  The University is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to selection on merit welcoming applicants from all sections of the community.  The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working”

Members of Staff Who Acquire A Disability in The Course of Employment

The University strives to provide reasonable accommodations for staff with an existing disability or who acquire a disability during their employment. The intent of reasonable accommodation is to assist a member of staff with a disability to continue in post where reasonable changes can be made or take alternative employment within the University.

There are a number of possible options when members of staff acquire a disability in the course of their employment. These may include:

  •  Continuing in the same post
  • Redeployment
  • Job Restructuring
  • Re-Training

Reasonable Accommodations 

Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis following a needs assessment and in accordance with the individual's certified disability/specific difficulty. Staff must in the first instance discuss the supports required directly with their manager. Additional advice/support is available from the Health and Safety team: hnsbookings@ul.ie and the Employee Relations Office  - Pat.Rockett@ul.ie – Employee Relations Manager – Andrew.Rock@ul.ie Employee Relations Administrator

The Employee Relations section is responsible for the provision and promotion of the University’s Employee Support Service (ESS). The ESS provides a free confidential counselling and advice service to all University staff who may be experiencing personal or work-related difficulties, which could pose a threat to their health, wellbeing, relationships or job. The ESS freephone helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1800 201 346.  The Employee Relations section is also responsible for the provision of an Occupational Health Service for all staff, as required.

A section on managing staff with disabilities is built into our Managing Attendance Programme.

The University runs an annual “Be Well @ UL” campaign which includes supports for staff with disabilities, mental illness etc. 

An all staff survey was conducted in 2019.  3.4% of respondents declared they had a disability. UL exceeds the 3% threshold of employment of people with disabilities.  It is the intention to conduct an all staff survey on disability early in 2021.

For further information: