Our conference “Making public services accessible and employing people with disabilities” took place on Wednesday, 27th June, in the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin. The morning session focused on accessible public services, and the afternoon session on employment of people with disabilities in the public sector.
Retaining employees who acquire a disability
The National Disability Authority has produced two significant pieces of work on the retention of employees who acquire a disability.
A Guide for Employers was then produced. The Guide provides employers with the simple, key steps for employers to help employees who have acquired a disability to stay in work. The Guide can be read in full here.
Legal position in Ireland
- There is a statutory Sectoral Plan on employment and training matters for people with disabilities prepared by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
- Public sector organisations are obliged to promote and support the employment of people with disabilities, and achieve a statutory minimum 3% target of staff with disabilities (Disability Act 2005, Part 5). The National Disability Authority (NDA) issues an annual report on compliance and can recommend specific action where a public body is in breach of these obligations for two successive years
- It is illegal to discriminate on grounds of disability in employment, promotion or training, and employers must reasonably accommodate people with disabilities to do their job, where the cost is not disproportionate (Employment Equality Acts, see www.equality.ie)
Lower employment rate
The employment rate of people with disabilities, even at the height of our economic boom, was only half that for non-disabled people (Census 2006).
A comprehensive employment strategy
The Sectoral Plan on employment sets out the Government’s commitment to develop a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities.
The NDA has advised Government that this strategy should be based on the following pillars:
- remove disincentives and benefit traps, and make work pay
- ensure that people with disabilities are equipped to compete for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs
- public and private sectors to support the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities
- devise and implement a preventative strategy to
- reduce early school-leaving among young people with disabilities
- improve retention in employment following the onset of a disability in adult life
- develop a systematic process of engagement with people with disabilities in order to assist them realise their employment aspirations
- ensure that the volume and overall pattern of provision in programmes of education, training and employment is sufficiently diverse to meet the needs of all people with disabilities, particularly people experiencing severe disabilities
Some NDA publications on employment
Annual reports on compliance with Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005
A Strategy of Engagement (2006) – towards a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities
Disability and Employment: what the research tells us – Conference proceedings 2005
Disability and Work: the picture we learn from official statistics (2005)
Towards Best Practice in the Provision of Further Education, Employment and Training Services for People with Disabilities in Ireland (2004)
Disclosing Disability in the Workplace a review of literature and practice in the Irish Public Sector.
Effective Leadership and Organisational Culture for the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities in the Public Sector