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Home  »   Latest News   »   PDA Ability Network praises the introduction of workplace support passports at Boots

PDA Ability Network praises the introduction of workplace support passports at Boots

The PDA Ability Network, which supports pharmacists with disabilities, has welcomed the news that Boots has introduced a form of disability passport which the company is calling a ‘workplace support passport’.

Tue 6th September 2022 The PDA

With more than 90% of disabilities and long-term conditions not being immediately visible, the chances are that everyone is working alongside more colleagues with disabilities than they might think. Just as an individual’s disability may not be visible, it also may not be obvious how an aspect of their job makes it harder for them to work due to how it impacts their condition. The individual employee is the person who will understand most what might fix the issue.

Whether or not a person’s health condition meets the legal status of disability must be decided in court. Effective line managers will ask everyone they manage if there is anything that can be done to improve conditions for their employees at work. Sensible employers may also create a mechanism for those conversations to lead to action to support their employees.

Reasonable adjustments can include a whole range of things. For example, for an employee with diabetes, reasonable adjustments might include making sure they have their breaks at set times so they can keep on top of their blood sugar levels or providing special equipment if they have eye problems. For someone with a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this might just be understanding that they may have to visit the toilet more times than a typical employee, without having to explain why each time.

Even though the reason for passports is to support people with disabilities, a condition doesn’t necessarily need to be formally agreed as a disability for the passport to be of use. In fact, the discussion and documented passport may also help colleagues who need adjustments for other reasons, such as caring responsibilities.

A workplace passport is a live record of adjustments that have been agreed between an individual and their line manager to support them at work. As it’s a ‘passport’, this means that if the line manager changes or the individual changes job location, there should be no need to restart the conversation because the arrangement travels with the employee. Without a passport type arrangement in place, the individual may find they are repeating the same conversation and having to justify their circumstances each time they have a new line manager.

On behalf of the PDA Ability Network, Claire Hirst, Network Coordinator said, “We welcome the introduction of workplace support passports for employees at Boots. This should help pharmacists resolve any disability-related issues that would otherwise prevent them from performing to their best. This should also help those who manage the pharmacy team to support colleagues that have a passport in place, which may be particularly helpful to relief and other pharmacists who are not the line managers of team members, but manage them on particular days. Boots are to be congratulated on this development.”

Jayesh Ladva, PDA Regional Representative and member of the joint Boots/PDA Union Equalities Working Party said, “Disability passports are a subject we have discussed with the company for some time, and we are delighted to see them be introduced. As a Boots-employed pharmacist myself, I encourage all my colleagues to talk to their line manager and consider if a change may help them remove any disability-related barriers that impact their work.”

Boots have announced the introduction of workplace support passports across their workforce using measures such as:

  • Posters sent to all workplaces, including a QR code that opens to an external webpage where a short animation explains the workplace support passport.
  • The passport document itself and guidance documents also available online to all staff.
  • A task on the internal BootsLive system, requiring managers to learn about the new tool.

Read the Boots briefing here:

Introducing our new Workplace Support Passport

We want everyone to feel valued and included in the work they do, which is why the disAbility Alliance UK BRG has worked in collaboration with the HR team to launch our new Workplace Support Passport (WSP) for all UK team members.

This new tool can be used to support and facilitate conversations between team members and their line manager about their disability, short- or long-term medical condition or impairment, caring responsibilities and how this impacts them at work, and the support they may find useful.

By encouraging team members to complete the Workplace Support Passport and initiate a conversation with their line manager, we hope to break down barriers and reduce the stigma surrounding disabilities to create a truly inclusive workplace. This may lead to further conversations about adjustments or health referrals, or may just be an informative chat.

Anyone can use the passport to have a conversation about their individual circumstances.

The PDA is also pleased to be able to highlight this initiative and to encourage PDA members employed at Boots to make use of this tool as appropriate.

The PDA has long championed disability passports and urges other pharmacy employers to follow this example set by Boots. All employers should help employees with disabilities to agree and maintain the necessary reasonable adjustments they need during their employment.


Learn more

Get involved

  • Join the PDA Ability Network here.
  • Follow the PDA Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability


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