Support and contacts that can help people to stay in work.
Your first step should be to discuss your situation with your manager. If you are concerned that they may not be very supportive to you, then it is important to know your rights and the type of services that are available to you. Our information on staying in work will give you an idea of what is out there.
What happens next will very much depend on your particular circumstances. Nevertheless, you and your employer may need some specialist advice and support from an employment adviser trained to understand how it might be possible to adapt your job so that you can continue to do it.
If you have recently experienced sight loss, your employer may refer you for an occupational health assessment. This assessment will assess your ability to do your current job. Undergoing an occupational health assessment can often cause a lot of worry for people as sometimes it is unclear why the assessment is taking place. If at any stage you are unsure as to what is going on or why something is happening, ask your manager or someone from your Human Resources department.
The key thing is not to panic about an occupational health assessment. If you know your rights and you know the services available to you then you are in a powerful position.
If you work for a medium or large employer there will be a Human Resources (HR) team who can offer you impartial support and advice. There may also be specialist Diversity or Disability Officers who will be able to assist you.
If you have a trade onion representative, you can have them at a meeting to discuss your job role, whether the company recognises them or not.
RNIB and Action for blind people offer a range of support services that can help you to retain your job including:
You can get information and advice on your current situation at anytime by calling the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a referral to one of our employment specialists.
If you live in England, you can ring the Action for Blind People Employment hotline on 0800 440 2255.
We can help you understand more clearly the effects of your sight loss on your work by conducting a workplace assessment through Access to Work or on a private consultancy basis. Private assessments are arranged through your nearest RNIB or Action centre - which you can find by calling the RNIB Helpline given above.
Please see our Access to Work section for more details about the scheme.
ESTS offers confidential telephone support, information and counselling to people who, because of sight loss, are experiencing emotional difficulties. ESTS can give you time to talk about your situation and how you are feeling. The Emotional Support Service is accessed via RNIB Helpline.
The RNIB Legal Rights Service is a specialist level advice service. We hold the Community Legal Service Specialist Quality Mark - this is a quality assurance standard for legal advice providers. We can give you information and legal advice about the Equality Act (or Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland). In some situations we may be able to provide you with representation. This is a free service for blind and partially sighted people. We use a set of criteria to help us work out what cases we can support. You can contact us through the Helpline, details of which are given above. The RNIB Legal Rights Service produces a series of factsheets on the Equality Act, all of which are available in alternative formats.
Leisure and recreation can be an important step to helping you stay in work. Taking up a new interest can increase your independence, boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. RNIB offer advice and information on leisure activities and sports, and produce a range of publications to help you make the most of your free time. Further information is available via RNIB Helpline.
Access to Work can help fund extra costs in work that result from your sight problem. This funding can take the form of providing technology or covering the costs of employing support workers, travel to work or training. The level of Access to Work funding is decided through an assessment that takes place in your workplace. This assessment takes into account your sight problem, your working environment and the job tasks that you perform.
Your doctor can refer you to your local Low Vision Aid Clinic. You will be able to see a range of low tech equipment, for example magnifiers and task lighting, at the clinic. Your doctor can also give advice on counselling.
Some eye clinics have Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) who can advise you on services in your local area.
In your local Jobcentre you will find your Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) who can advise you on the schemes and funding which will enable you to stay in employment.
Mobility, daily living skills and local support agencies can be reached through your local authority Social Services department. Telephone your local authority and ask to speak to a Social Worker or Rehabilitation Officer in your area.
Local societies offer various services to blind and partially sighted people. Each local society has a different mix of services, so you should contact your local association for details.
The RNIB helpline (0303 123 9999) can put you in touch with your local society.
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