Thursday, 19 July 2007

Sending a message to bosses

Shropshire companies should not ignore the skills and resources which employees with disabilities may have to offer.
That’s the message from John Mehtam, Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, who said businesses should consider employing staff from all sections of the community.

“The Government has launched a new initiative, ‘Employ Ability’, which aims to encourage companies to employ disabled people and dispel some of the myths.

“They believe that employers may be missing out on talented and motivated staff if they fail to look at disabled workers as a solution to vacancies in their workforce.”

Initially Employ Ability is being piloted in Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Liverpool, but will be rolled out nationally in 2008.

“Currently the national employment rate for people with disabilities is 50 per cent compared to 74 percent for non-disabled people, and the initiative is aiming to bring a better balance to the national workforce,” said John.

“Employers may mistakenly believe that adapting the workplace to accommodate an employee with disabilities is expensive, when in fact generally the costs are negligible or cost nothing.

“And the new initiative will also help to improve employers’ access to practical information, making it easier for them to locate relevant support and advice.”

John said it was important to not only help employers recruit more people with disabilities, but also to help them retain staff who may become disabled while they were employed by the company.

“If circumstances like this arise, employers need help to handle the situation carefully and do all they can to prevent the employee having to leave their job unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“Today’s marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, and for employers who are looking to recruit new staff, people with disabilities should not be ignored.”