Two Jobs in One Day: Exploring the Dynamics of Personal Assistance Relationships in the Workplace

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JournalScandinavian Journal Of Disability Research
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Disabled people are under-represented and can experience discrimination in the workplace in the UK and globally. The employment of a Workplace Personal Assistant (WPA) is an option for disabled people who require assistance to undertake their job role. The WPA role is designed to increase the accessibility of the workplace via personalised and self-directed assistance, yet is little known or understood. The dynamics of these assistance relationships are explored from analysis of interviews with disabled people, their WPAs and representatives of the organisations in which they work. Disabled people who use a WPA undertake two jobs in one day - their substantive role and the management of their WPA. Understanding these dual roles, and recognising the subtle skills required and additional labour undertaken, can help to challenge the ableist assumptions which shape the workplace and help open up the workplace for disabled people who require a WPA.

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