PWD and Employment

Person with Disability and Employment


As the global scenarios take a turn, the earth that was a huge mass of land and oceans turns into a global village and the population that hadn’t crossed millions in centuries crosses the mile stone of billions in just a century, the competition between each individual rises to its extent. Every little resource that was available to human kind in abundance now shrinks to a tiny speck if compared to the number of competitors. With every resource that remains available, rivalry for employment increases day by day. For what it is worth, the theory of Charles Darwin applies to the current scenario appropriately. Maybe when Darwin gave the theory of “Survival of the fittest”, he was not only pointing out the survival of animals in wilderness. Who can know but the theory fits true even for the urban human settings here.

In this mess of competition for employment, the differently abled people might not pick up as fast as the rest. An individual is said to be a person with disability (PWD) if he/she possesses long-term physical, sensory, mental, or cognitive impairments that hinder him/her in performing day-to-day tasks. Although many societies and NGOs are trying their best to get equal opportunities, PWDs or the “differently-abled” are still looked down upon by many and labeled as useless, unproductive, and unfit for work. Although not ethical, people of the modern 21st century still carry a mentality like that. Most people seem to forget this simple fact, as discrimination and judgment are still increasingly rampant. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that PWDs are in fact also lawfully given the same rights as persons without disabilities. PWDs possess the civil rights of respect for dignity, freedom to make choices for oneself, independence, non-discrimination, full participation in society, and equal treatment.

Persons with disabilities are bursting with abilities and contributions. Although they have incapacities that give them limitations for some tasks, PWDs are still capable of bringing their full talents to the table because first, their disabilities range from only one to two areas, thus allowing other parts of their bodies to function normally; and second, they may work with these normally-functioning parts as long as they are assigned to jobs within their boundaries.  A DuPont study consisting of 811 employees reported that PWDs had a 90% better job performance/productivity than ordinary workers. Also, in a survey conducted by the EEO (Equal Employment Opportunities) Trust last 2005, PWD workers themselves rated their work ethics positively, expressing their advantages when it comes to communicating with other people, reliability and trustworthiness, and overall good work ethics; they even considered themselves to be committed, passionate, optimistic and willing to work.

In October 2017, a survey was entitled the National Employment and Disability Survey Supervisor Perspectives and conducted by the University of New Hampshire and was released in the U.S. Capitol in honor of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month. According to this survey very few companies have an intentional plan as a part of their diversity efforts to include people with disabilities. While 28 percent of organizations have disability hiring goals, only 12 percent of companies include disability as a part of their diversity efforts. In comparison, 45 percent have hiring goals for other types of diversity. Even though disability advocates are saying that disability is part of diversity in the workplace, that message is still not getting across to businesses. Certain practices considered highly effective for employees with disabilities were underutilize by employers. One striking example is the training practice of short-term outside assistance, which was found to be effective for people with disabilities at 86 percent, but was only maintained by 19 percent of employers. The same applies to the accommodation practice of job sharing, which was found to be effective at 92 percent, but was only maintained by 13 percent of employers. Andrew Houtenville, PhD, Director of Research for the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability said “While most organizations have effective processes for recruiting and supporting new hires, these processes are not as effective for candidates with disabilities. We need to look into how these processes can be improved,” he advised. “On the other hand, certain practices are seen as highly effective for employees with disabilities, but are underutilized by employers. The most striking example is a centralized accommodation fund, found to be 97% effective, but maintained by only 16% of employers.”

Persons with disability in Indian subcontinent face many challenges when looking to develop employable skills and in gaining meaningful employment in conditions of decent work. Whilst India has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with disability (UNCRPD), persons with disability continue to face many difficulties in the labor market. In this context, this study aims to understand the issues facing persons with disability in the Indian labor market to enable ILO to identify potential strategic interventions for future advocacy or project work. In India, the disability sector in general estimates that 4-5% of the population is disabled. The Planning Commission recognizes this figure as 5%.1 A report by the World Bank states that while estimates vary, there is growing evidence that persons with disability are around 40-80 million, which constitute between 4-8% of India’s population.2 Both Census 2001 and NSS round of 2002 estimate lower incidence of disability in the country.3 The Census of India showed that the prevalence of disability in India was 2.2% translating into 21.9 million affected individuals. 12.6 million are males and 9.3 million females. Among the five types of disabilities on which data had been collected in the 2001 Census, visual impairment constituted 48.5%; mobility impairment 27.9%; mental disability 10.3%; speech impairment 7.5% and hearing impairment 5.8%., as indicated in Figure 1. Irrespective of the varying estimates, because of the sheer size of the Indian population, even the lowest estimate of disability makes it equal to the population of several European countries put together.

All the facts and theories that we mentioned above and what are already there conclude that the upliftment and opportunity of jobs are a major concern of the government as well as the private industries of a country. Even the citizens can play a major role in it. The discrimination against the differently abled surely needs a reduction and they should be given a fair chance at every aspect of life. Not only will it increases the human potential of a company but will also increase the moral of our society.

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