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Why hire the Disabled
People with disability should have equal access to employment.
Employers and recruitment agencies must make their recruitment and employment practices accessible to people with disability.


Why Work
People with disability have education and skills, which can increase India’s economic growth. There are many very successful people with disability already working in the Indian industry. Many more people with disability want to work. Many employers are seeking new workers.

Having a job has lots of positive results for people with disability, including:
  • Increased standard of living
  • Improved health
  • Increased skills and knowledge
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased independence
Myths about Disability: Facts that Change the Myths

Lower productivity
Some employers argue that it is not financially viable for them to hire people with disability as they work too slowly. But the reality is that most people with disability work at productivity levels equivalent to other employees and receive full wages.

Basic jobs only
Employers may have a misconception that people with disability can only work in simple or base grade jobs. This is not the case as people with disability work across occupations, including in apprenticeships and traineeships, and at all levels of competency.

Higher absenteeism
Employers may be concerned that job seekers with disability will have higher absenteeism including taking more sick leave. Disability should not be perceived as sickness. Most people with disability are not perpetually sick and do not need or take more time off work than anyone else due to illness.

Working with People with Disability
Most people have worked with a person with disability. Sometimes it is obvious that a person has a disability. Other times it is not obvious, particularly when a person has a mental illness or intellectual disability.

Most employers who employ people with disability want to continue to hire people with disability. They learn a lot and become more confident in working with people with disability.

Don’t expect all people to experience disability in the same way. Do not expect all people with a particular illness or disability to have the same skills and attitudes.

Here are some tips about working with people with different types of disability:

People with Physical Disability:
  • When arranging a job interview or meeting, make sure the venue is accessible. Make sure parking or steps do not act as barriers.
  • A wheelchair is part of a person's personal space. Do not assume a person wants you to push the wheelchair. Always ask the person if they want help first.
  • Do not be surprised if the person transfers from their wheelchair to an office chair, or gets out of their wheelchair to move around. Some people, who use wheelchairs, can walk with and without canes, crutches or braces.
  • People who use a walker, crutches or similar assistive equipment may need help with coats, briefcases and laptops.
  • Non-slip floor coverings and extra space helps people who use crutches and walkers to get around safely.

People who are blind or have vision impairment
  • Offer assistance, but don't insist.
  • If a person who is blind needs guidance through a door or to a chair, let the person take your arm and move with you. When approaching steps, you can tell them where the steps are and how many steps.
  • When a person who is blind starts to work in a new location, guide them through the building and explain its features.
  • Ask the person if they have any special requirements for their work. Some people might need adjustments to lights. Others might need screen reading software installed on the computer.
  • Speak to the person in your usual tone of voice. Do not raise your voice.
  • Introduce people in the room or ask each person to introduce themselves. You should announce when someone is leaving or entering the room.
  • Provide meaningful directions that relate to the person rather than say things like, "over there" or "up the road".

People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Do not confuse being deaf or hard of hearing with lack of knowledge, skills or ability.
  • Some people who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to speak. Use sign Language as their primary method of communication.
  • When speaking with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, face the person. Attract their attention before starting to talk to them.
  • Use meaningful facial expressions and gestures to indicate your attitude and intention. This helps to replace meaning that people can pick up from tone of voice.
  • Communication may be better if meetings are held away from telephones and other distractions.
  • Do not assume that all people who are deaf use a Sign Language Interpreter.
  • If using a Sign Language Interpreter or oral interpreter, speak directly to the person with hearing impairment, not the interpreter. Speak clearly and use a normal tone of voice. Keep your hands away from your face.
If you do not understand what the person is saying, ask them to repeat it. If you still can’t understand, ask if they can write it including using a notepad, computer or phone.

People with mental illness
  • Talk to the person as you would talk to other people.
  • Integrate the person into the team. Do not isolate them from the team.
  • Provide access to water or other beverages. Some people who take medications for mental illness need to frequently drink water.
  • Be willing and prepared to offer a flexible work arrangement to allow the person to attend appointments with health professionals. A flexible work arrangement may help the person deal with insomnia, fatigue and the affects of medications.

People with intellectual disability

People with intellectual disability have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some people with intellectual disability have average or above average abilities. Some may not be able to think, reason or remember as well as others. Many people with intellectual disability are productive employees. Investing some time to set up the right job and helping the person learn the job results in having hard working, reliable employees.
  • Talk to people with intellectual disability in the same way you would talk to other people.
  • Ask questions and be prepared to repeat the person's response to achieve clear communication.
  • Explain work issues. Explain their working hours, dress requirements, rates of pay, work expectations, transport requirements and locations of work equipment.
  • Provide clear instructions about work schedules and work tasks. It may help to do this in writing as well as through oral instructions.

Encourage them in their Career Development
One common mistake is to overlook someone with a disability for promotion to a management or a supervisor position because they cannot carry out some of the tasks due to their impairment. It is best practice to carry out regular performance reviews to provide a chance to discuss whether someone could carry out the tasks associated with promotion or transfer. Some disabled people may need help to develop confidence in their abilities to undertake management training or other promotional opportunities offered to them. When appropriate, provide targeted training specifically for disabled people, for instance, by offering proactive personal development if you want to encourage disabled people to apply for supervisor or management positions.

In addition, consider making reasonable adjustments, perhaps by assigning some minor tasks of the role to another member of staff. This flexible approach means that you can capitalize on people’s abilities and not be held back by unimportant limitations.

Clearly, a lot more awareness and sensitivity towards those with challenges is needed. Meanwhile, it is up to organizations to show the way.
Copyright 2013 CII, All Right Reserved.