Employers not keen on employing disabled - study
A market study conducted by Dr Joy Moncrieffe of the Institute for Applied Social Research has confirmed the view held by many that employers are not keen on employing persons with disabilities (PWDs).
The 2016 study said that while there were some companies willing to employ PWDs with visual, hearing, speech, or physical challenges, a significant percentage was not ready to do so. They were hesitant to employ persons with neurological and mental disorders.
According to the study, the attitude by companies was attributed to widespread lack of information on disabilities, lack of resources, and low levels of knowledge and skill to implement measures and processes required to cater to persons with disabilities.
The study of more than 200 companies found that the current labour market was not physically or technology accessible to PWDs. Only 22 per cent of organisations surveyed had ramps and other accommodations for PWDs. A mere six per cent had differing forms of information communication technology (ICT) to assist PWDs to better participate in the workplace. Eight per cent had appropriate job-training provisions to assist. Asked if they were willing to make changes to the built environment in order to accommodate PWDs, 31 per cent said yes, 19 per cent said no, and 50 per cent said that they did not know. Regarding the provision of differing forms of ICT, 26 per cent said that they were willing, 18 per cent would not do so, while 56 per cent did not know.
Twenty-nine per cent of enterprises surveyed said that they were willing to provide appropriate job training, 17 per cent were unwilling, and 54 per cent unsure.
The findings were shared at a Ministry of Labour and Social Security employers' consultation titled 'Workability', held on Thursday at the Sandals Royal Plantation hotel in Ocho Rios.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson, in a message read by Minister of State Zavier Mayne, said that of the 200,000 Jamaicans currently living with a disability, less than one per cent were employed.
She said that major gaps still remained in the equality-of-employment opportunities and job skills training for PWDs. She said that the Government was working to address these gaps.
The minister said that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Disability Act was crucial at this juncture as the act promises to not only protect the rights of persons with disabilities, but among other things, to reinforce and promote acceptance of the principle of equal fundamental rights for persons with disabilities.