Cost to Keep Disabled Employees is Small, Study Says

The cost for employers to accommodate employees and job applicants with disabilities is minimal, according to the Department of Labor.

The preliminary findings of a study conducted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), found almost half of the accommodations needed by disabled employees and job applicants cost nothing. Of those accommodations that do have a cost associated with them, the typical expenditure is around $600, according to the study.

"This new information indicates that for a very small investment in accommodations, an employer can hire or retain a good employee for the business," said Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

The real cost of providing accommodations for disabled employees and job applicants is just one of the issues ODEP is studying as part of a follow-up survey with employers who use JAN, a free consulting service offering technical assistance and workplace accommodation assistance among other services.

For the survey, titled "Workplace Accommodations: Low-Cost, High-Impact," ODEP interviewed 890 employers who contacted JAN between January 2004 and June 2005. Some of the findings include:

  • Employers want to provide accommodations to retain valued and qualified employees.
  • Cost of accommodations is low.
  • Employers experience multiple direct and indirect benefits such as retaining qualified employees, eliminating the costs of training new employees and increasing retained worker productivity after making accommodations.

The accommodation study is ongoing through September 2007. For more information on the survey, go to http://www.jan.wvu.edu.

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