The Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. It was recorded in 1995, five years after the law took effect, 0.2% of new hires had disabilities. By 2011 the number of new hires with disabilities rose to 11.89% and it was recorded in 2016 that 17.9% of all new hires had disabilities. That’s a huge increase in hiring those with disabilities, which shows many of the employers’ prior fears are dispelled.
However, of 30 million Americans with disabilities of working age, only 20% are currently counted as part of the workforce. While stigma remains a barrier to employment, a recent survey showed that in spite of the ADA, many people still try to hide their disability out of fear of being rejected for employment or fear of being limited in their job options.
According to a 2012 Walgreens study, hiring people with disabilities can have unique benefits for employers:
· 48% lower turnover rate than non-disabled employees
· 67% lower medical costs (maintenance medical care costs vs emergency medical care costs)
· Equal rates of accuracy and productivity as compared to non-disabled employees.
With a rare and low 3.9% unemployment rate in 2018, a valuable source of new employees lies in the work age Americans with disabilities.
Tap into that resource by actively recruiting employees with disabilities by fostering a disability- inclusive work culture; building a comfortable working environment; and committing to some disability employment initiatives.
*From the 2017 Sodexo Insights blog by Carol Glazer and Howard Green
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