We encourage you to aim to implement best practice for all your employees, whether they are a person with a disability or not. In relation to employing people with disabilities, best practice includes:
- Providing disability awareness training
- Ensuring premises are accessible
- Providing accessible technologies
- Ensuring that company policies are inclusive and accessible (Handbook, PEEP / Health and Safety)
- Recruiting a diverse and inclusive workforce
There are no current specific accreditations or awards in Ireland nor is there a legislative code of practice specific to employing persons with disabilities. (National Disability Authority, January 2016.)
It is good practice to set out in written policies the steps you will take if an employee discloses a hidden disability or acquires a disability.
Organisations that can help you and your company with advice on different policies are
- Employer Disability Information (EDI) employerdisabilityinfo.ie
- Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Assocation (ISME) isme.ie
- Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC) ibec.ie
- Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CPID)
Employment Equality Act (see www.workplacerelations.ie)
You cannot discriminate against employees by treating them less favourably in employment, training or promotion on the basis of their disability. This includes a previous or present disability. You cannot dismiss someone on grounds of disability if they can do the essential duties of the job.
An employer is not required to employ, retain or promote someone who will not undertake the duties or is not fully competent or capable of doing the essential duties of the job. In law, a person with a disability is considered fully competent and capable of undertaking any duties, if the person would be fully competent and capable when reasonably accommodated by the employer.
You must take reasonable steps to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities, except where to do so would impose a disproportionate burden on you. Factors to be taken into account in relation to disproportionate burden include in particular:
- The financial and other costs entailed in providing the accommodation
- The resources available to the employer’s business
- The possibility of obtaining public funding or other assistance
You are not obliged to provide employees with equipment they would normally provide for themselves, for example, reading glasses, hearing aids.
You should ensure employees are not harassed on the basis of their disability.
The Equal Status Act outlaw discrimination outside the workplace, in particular in the provision of goods and services, selling or leasing property and certain aspects of education. Discrimination can be direct or indirect. While direct discrimination is often more obvious, indirect discrimination has a similar impact on employees. Indirect discrimination can happen when organisations’ policies and practices have negative consequence.
The Department of Social Protection has set up Intreo.
Intreo provides a range of supports for employers to: provide disability training and awareness, develop and implement inclusive recruitment policies and procedures, accommodate new employees with disability, or assist with retaining employees who have acquired an injury. For more information go to www.welfare.ie. There you will find out about their:
- EmployAbility Service
- The Disability Awareness Training Support Scheme
- The Reasonable Accommodation Fund for the Employment of People with Disabilities
- Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant
- Personal Reader Grant
- The Job Interview Interpreter Grant
- Employee Retention Grant
- Wage Subsidy Scheme
Is a FREE Nationwide recruitment service for employers and is funded by the Department of Social Protection. It has 23 centres located across Ireland. The focus of the service is to help people with disabilities and extra support needs gain long-term employment and play an active role in informing employers of the benefits of employing people with disabilities.
Benefits for Employers:
- FREE job matching and employment placement service that matches your specific recruitment needs
- Access to highly skilled workforce
- Information, support and assistance in understanding the supports available when employing a person with a disability or health issue
- On the job support (if required) when the person commences employment
- Back-up support and assistance
- Mentoring for both employers and employees
- Financial incentives – advice and information on relevant grants and schemes
- Loyal workforce – job seekers value the opportunity to become part of the workforce
- A more inclusive workforce which has been shown to boost staff morale
- Opportunity to promote your business as an advocate of equal opportunities
These supports and services are delivered through a team of job coaches and professional support staff.
For more information click here