The costs and benefits of accommodating employees with disabilities

Recently, The Chicago Lighthouse studied the retention rate of employees in its Illinois Tollway call center, which employs people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veterans (as well as people without disabilities.) On average, the employees with vision loss or other disabilities and Veterans had a retention rate of 1.7 years.In contrast, the retention rate for employees without disabilities or that were not Veterans was only 0.9 years.In total, the University of Iowa's Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center (LHPDC) interviewed 1,182 employers between January 2004 and December 2006 who contacted JAN.The employers represented a range of industry sectors and sizes.This is the most simple, but difficult reason for employers to understand about hiring workers with disabilities.

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This concern often is accompanied by a reluctance to hire individuals with disabilities who may need accommodations.

All employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs.

Similarly, individuals with disabilities may need workplace adjustments—or accommodations—to maximize the value they can add to their employer.

Of the employers who called JAN for accommodation information and solutions, most were doing so to retain or promote (83%) a current employee.

On average (including those persons who had just been given a job offer or who were newly hired), the employees had been with the company about seven years, with an average wage of .70 for those paid by the hour, or an average annual salary of about ,000.

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