Study: Accommodation of Disabilities in the Workplace is NOT Expensive

When Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) fifteen years ago, supporters hoped the equity legislation would increase disabled peoples' opportunities for employment. But, according to researchers at Cornell University, the employment rate for people with disabilities peaked around 25 percent in the 1990s before dropping below 20 percent by 2004.

The Department of Labor attributes this low employment rate, in part, to the misconception that accommodating people with disabilities in the workplace is prohibitively costly. In fact, research indicates that the opposite is true. The Labor Department's Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which helps employers hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities, has found that most workplace accommodations can be implemented at little or no cost.

An ongoing JAN employer survey, which will continue through September 2007, released preliminary findings recently based on feedback from 778 employers that had contacted the agency for information about employing people with disabilities.

The vast majority of the employers surveyed had called because they were interested in learning how to retain their employees, who on average had been employed for seven years and were paid about $13 per hour.

About half reported that implementing workplace adjustments came at no expense, and about 43 percent reported a one-time cost that averaged around $600.

Update: Fixed the link to the survey.Technorati Tags:Categories:DisabilityIssues