Firms need educating on disabled staff

Seventy-six per cent of employers in the UK have never had an opportunity to
employ disabled people.

This is according to a survey of more than 1,000 employers on employing
people with disabilities, published to coincide with the launch of
jobability.com, a website designed to help disabled people into work.

The study also finds more than a quarter of employers in the hotel,
restaurant and retail sectors are reluctant to employ disabled people because
of other people’s attitudes.

Nearly half of the respondents are not aware of any policies or guidelines
at their company relating to employment of disabled people.

Almost 30 per cent of respondents said they do not have the required
facilities to employ disabled people, despite the fact that employers must
remove or alter any physical barriers to access for disabled people by October
2004 under the Disability Discrimination Act.

But the survey finds that almost two-thirds of companies employing disabled
people incurred no extra costs as a result of making the necessary adjustments.

Steve Harvey, director of people, profits & loyalty at Microsoft, which
helped establish jobability.com in partnership with Leonard Cheshire and
Totaljobs.com, said: "The findings show there is still a long way to go
towards educating employers and improving employment opportunities for disabled
people.

"At Microsoft, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to
realise his or her potential and that means providing disabled people with work
opportunities in all our workplaces."

www.jobability.com

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