Report Reveals Low Cost of Accommodating Disabled Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that a new report finds that nearly half of workplace accommodations made for people with disabilities can be implemented at no cost to employers, and of those that do incur a one-time cost, the median expenditure has decreased when compared to previous reports to only $300.
The newly published report “Accommodation and Compliance: Low Cost, High Impact” by the Job Accommodation Network — a service of the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy — analyzes survey data collected from employers from 2019 to 2022. The survey collected cost information from employers using online questionnaires, which increased the number and diversity of responses significantly. Before 2019, JAN collected cost information via one-on-one phone calls. These employers, representing a wide array of industry sectors and sizes, contacted JAN for information initially about workplace accommodations and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In addition to gathering information about accommodations’ costs, the survey explores employers’ motivations for making them, their effectiveness and the benefits they produced. The report includes the following findings:
• More than half of employers made accommodations to retain valued employees.
• 68.4 percent of employers said the accommodations made were either very effective or extremely effective after consulting JAN. Another 18.3 percent of employers said accommodations were somewhat effective after consulting JAN.
• The direct and indirect benefits of making accommodations included retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and increasing workforce diversity.
“This report reinforces what Job Accommodation Network has repeatedly in its work observed, which is that accommodations for disabled workers are indeed a low cost, high-impact strategy for supporting and retaining valued talent,” explains Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “The report also reinforces the importance of JAN’s role in helping employers understand available options and implement viable solutions that work for both the employee and organization as a whole.”
An accommodation is a modification to the work environment or the way a job is customarily done to enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Under the ADA, covered employers must provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities, when requested, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.
Funded by ODEP, JAN is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and other disability employment issues. JAN assists businesses of all sizes in determining effective accommodations for a broad range of conditions and on how to support workers with Long COVID.
For related content, check out this article explaining how hiring disabled workers reduces turnover.