People with disabilities are only half as likely to be in employment as others of working age. The reasons for this are complex. While many employers successfully employ people with disabilities, for others, limited disability know-how and a fear of the unknown can be issues. From the individual’s side, research shows other reasons for low employment rates can include poor health, lower levels of education and skills, low expectations, fears around loss of benefits, and practical issues such as transport or work arrangements. People with greater levels of impairment are less likely to be at work. The two most important supports identified by people with disabilities who would like to work are flexible work arrangements and modified job tasks.
The National Disability Authority conducts research on employment and disability, undertakes consultation, and hosts seminars and workshops, to inform policy advice. It has also developed good practice guidelines for employers on retaining staff who acquire a disability.
The National Disability Authority has the statutory role to report every year on the compliance by public service organisations with their legal obligation to promote and support the employment of people with disabilities and to achieve 3% of staff with disabilities, unless there are good reasons otherwise.
Under the Comprehensive Strategy for People with Disabilities (2015 – 2024), the Government has committed to increasing the public service employment target for persons with disabilities on an incremental basis from a minimum of 3% to a minimum of 6% by 2024.