Increasing Disability Employment In the Workplace

Why increase awareness about disability employment in the workplace? Besides the altruistic, “just because” answer; hiring disabled people makes practical business sense. Not only do employers gain dedicated and passionate employees, they often receive tax credits or breaks from the government, among other benefits. It is easier to hire people with disabilities than ever before, it’s often encouraged and sometimes required.

In March 2014, 4.67 million people with disabilities were participating in the U.S. labor force, only accounting for 20.6% of the working population. The statistics in recent years have improved, however only 16% of adults with a severe disability are employed, compared to the 63% employed without a disability.

What can you do to make the case for disability employment? The first step is to recognize the many benefits to hiring people with disabilities. Here are some considerations:

 5 Considerations when making the case for disability employment

Compliance with disability legislation

Employers are prohibited from making discriminatory recruiting or employment decisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unless doing so would result in undue hardship, any employer with 15 or more employees must offer reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Any modification to the workplace that gives a person with a disability equal employment opportunities is known as a reasonable accommodation. Additionally, the government has set an “aspirational goal” for any company that hires more than $100,000 in federal contractors: 7% of your company’s workforce should be made up of individuals with disabilities.

Disability Tax credits

Numerous tax advantages, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Disabled Access Credit, Barrier Removal Tax Deduction, and others, can be gained by the company by hiring people with disabilities. Depending on the accommodations made for an employee, businesses may be eligible for sizable credits or returns.

Increase morale and positivity in your business

Many firms who have prioritized recruiting people with disabilities report how many of their staff members value having a diverse workplace. Employing a person with a disability won’t just boost morale; it can also offer a fresh viewpoint your company has never seen before. Disabled workers can bring new perspectives to the workplace, changing outdated practices into innovative, progressive company standards.

Maintain disabled employees in high-turnover positions

People with disabilities tend to stay in high-turnover positions longer than people without disabilities. According to a US Chamber of Commerce study, people with disabilities had an 80% lower turnover rate than those without. Increasing tenure within your business means less training, happy employees, satisfied customers and a long-term savings on administrative costs.

Gain dedicated and loyal brand fans

An interesting truth is that the market for disabled people, along with their family and friends, is worth a trillion dollars. Why not profit from this emerging market? Sharing the experiences of disabled employees can help businesses build a devoted and loyal customer base—with their consent, of course! To increase positive brand awareness, it only makes sense to highlight a company’s success in hiring people with disabilities.

In addition to all these advantages for the company, disabled personnel are really pleased with their jobs. What inquiry do people make when they first meet you? How do you make a living? For those with impairments, the question can be extremely challenging at times. Not a handout, but an identity at work is what they seek. You just need to be open to the possibilities because they will make contributions to your company culture that you never even considered.

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Hannah Weiss

Hannah Weiss, a public relations professional from Minneapolis, Minnesota has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2011. She enjoys collaborating with others and spreading the word about organizations that are making a difference in the community by providing equality for persons with disabilities. Hannah currently manages public relations for Opportunity Services OppServ, a nonprofit that helps disabled adults find employment. Connect with Hannah.


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