Telework has lots of advantages for employers. One such advantage that commonly is overlooked is that telework can promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), conducted a study on this benefit in an effort to inform future policy decisions. The study, published in late 2008, offers insight into the specific ways telework can be used to assist people with disabilities. The purpose of the research was to evaluate the following types of telework:
1. Using telework as a return-to-work strategy specifically for people with disabilities receiving federal and state workers’ compensation; and
2. Using telework as an alternative strategy for increasing competitive employment for disabled vets returning from tours of duty.
The 2008 Survey of Employer Perspectives on the Employment of People with Disabilities was performed using data gathered from employers in 12 industry sectors of varying sizes.
Here are some of the key findings:
Employing people with disabilities
- 19.1% of employers report employing people with disabilities.
- By size of employer:
- 10.7% of small companies (with 5-14 people) report employing people with disabilities.
- 22.6% of medium companies (with 15-249 people); and
- 53.1% of large companies (250 and more people).
Recruiting people with disabilities
- 13.6% report that they actively recruit people with disabilities.
- 33.8% of larger companies, compared with 7.8% of smaller companies, actively recruit people with disabilities.
- In the private sector, service-producing industries are more likely to actively recruit than those in goods-producing industries.
Hiring people with disabilities
- 8.7% of companies report having hired people with disabilities in the past 12 months.
- Large companies (32.6%) are more likely to have hired a person with disabilities in the past 12 months compared to medium-sized companies (8%).
- The most often cited challenge in hiring a person with a disability is that the nature of the work is such that it cannot be performed by a person with a disability. (72.6% of all companies).
- For small and mid-sized businesses, the cost and the belief that workers with disabilities lack the skills and experience necessary are the most often cited concerns.
- For large companies, the most cited concern is supervisory uncertainty about how to take disciplinary action.
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