HC Deb 04 May 1976 vol 910 c350W
Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any evidence to show that disabled people have a higher record of absence from work due to sickness than the population as a whole.

Mr. Alfred Morris

No. Indeed, the evidence is to the contrary. The hon. Member will be interested to know that studies in a large American chemical company, the results of which were published in the United States last year, showed that 91 per cent. of the disabled workers rated average or better on job performance; 79 per cent. were rated average or better on attendance; and 93 per cent. were rated average or better on turnover. Some of the best employees among those studied had the most severe handicaps: amputation, blindness, paraplegia, epilepsy. This is broadly consistent with general experience in this country, where, except when periodic incapacity is a feature of a particular chronic condition, disabled people have often been found to have below average rates of sickness absence. Thus, a 1968 study by Dr. Peter Taylor, then of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showed that a group of workers with no sickness absence during the study period, a quarter had physical signs of chronic conditions, varying from asthma and diabetes to kyphoscoliosis and unrepaired hernias.