Tesco is an excellent place to work for people with disabilities

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by KnowESG,

Tesco PLC

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Tesco is a great place to work because it supports disabled people. The chain introduced new benefits and rules for disabled employees last year. Tesco currently employs 6% of colleagues with altered working ability in addition to the law and works with dual-education schools for disabled students.

Tesco introduced the Rules for Gradual Return to Work last year, which are special benefits that will help colleagues with altered working ability. Tesco understands that not all jobs are appropriate for people with disabilities. As a result, the chain provides assistance to colleagues with reduced working capacity or temporary health issues, such as temporary reassignment, changing weekly contract hours, a Tesco break policy allowing more frequent stops, or allowing flexibility in scheduling or rescheduling due to rehabilitation in most places.

"Returning to work after a long break due to illness can be difficult both physically and mentally - in some cases, loss of self-confidence can even slow recovery after medical treatment. The new benefit will allow colleagues from stores, the central office and distribution centers to halve their working hours for the first month after returning to work, while Tesco will match their salary to 100%,” 

says Miroslava Rychtárechová, Tesco's HR Director in Slovakia.

Managers and store managers play a critical role in creating accessible environments for colleagues with disabilities. Tesco provides regular diversity and inclusion training or inclusive management training on the support of colleagues with varying working abilities for them. Tesco also hosts Diversity Week for its employees each year, which includes a variety of trainings and webinars. This year's event was held during the week of May 23-27, 2022.

 "We are very proud that we are significantly exceeding the legal obligation to employ at least 3.2% of people with altered working ability. In 2021, almost 6% of the total number of colleagues worked in Tesco. Every day we see how the diversity of the composition of our teams has a positive effect on their work. At the same time, all our colleagues trust us that if anything unexpected happens in their lives, we will always try to create the best possible conditions for their return to work. Whether in the form of part-time work, the possibility to start working in another job position or more frequent breaks at work," 

explains Miroslava Rychtárechová.

The manager's friendly approach and the support of colleagues also helped Jakub Trojan, who works in the Tesco Partizánske hypermarket, overcome his fears of starting work:

"Before joining Tesco, I was worried about how people would accept me. My fear, however, quickly dissipated. My coworkers pleasantly surprised me by accepting me without prejudice. My manager came to my aid; I work two part-time jobs that require me to alternate between sitting and standing, which is beneficial to my health. I'm proud to work for a company where I can be myself."

Many other colleagues with different working abilities, like Jakub Trojan, found work at Tesco. Marieta Steranková and Attila Györög are two of them. Marieta is a Tesco Nitra supermarket employee who was born with Down syndrome. Attila has been deaf since birth and now works as a sales employee at the Tesco hypermarket in Trstice: "Colleagues and my manager are very helpful." When I have to learn something new, I demonstrate it several times and occasionally draw it."

Collaboration with educational institutions, In addition, the chain works with schools for handicapped and disabled students. Pupils with disabilities gain practical experience in Tesco stores alongside children and young people from socially disadvantaged families and excluded communities through the dual education system.

"We believe in diversity and inclusion because they reflect the communities in which we operate. Our teams are stronger when they are diverse. Instead of blaming our colleagues for their handicaps and shortcomings, we focus on developing their talents. Schools in the dual education system are critical partners in the development of our employment programs for colleagues with varying levels of working ability. Students with disabilities gain experience in our business operations as a result of this collaboration,"

M. Rychtárechová adds.

Tesco has been working on dual education collaboration with OZ Alternatva and the Valaská Boarding School since 2021. The chain offers internships to apprentices who are medically or mentally challenged.

The same amount of collaboration is underway with Bratislava's Secondary Vocational School on Dbravská cesta, a special school for children with physical disabilities. 15 students from this school are already working as part of their dual education at the Tesco hypermarket in Petralka, Bratislava. Children from boarding schools gain dual education experience in Tesco stores in Nitra, Zlaté Moravce, and Vráble, as well as children from socially disadvantaged families and excluded communities.

The first diversity and inclusion report The publication of the Report on the Fulfillment of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which Tesco was the first company in Slovakia to publish in the spring of 2021, was an important step in the application of the principles of diversity and inclusion. Following the publication of this report, Tesco representatives met with Profesia.sk representatives and other experts at a round table discussion about hiring people with mental disabilities, specifically Asperger's syndrome. As a result of their participation in this discussion, Tesco has been running a pilot project since November 2021, with seven colleagues with Asperger's Syndrome now working in Tesco stores.

Source: Tesco news

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