This section outlines the most frequenty asked questions from employers regarding employing people with disabilities.
Do you have a question? Send it to email@example.com or phone us on 01-676 2014.
- What services do you offer?
The Employer Disability Information service offers:
- a dedicated helpline giving advice and information to employers about recruiting and employing people with disabilities;
- a central web-based information resource incorporating guidance and an FAQ section, which is kept up to date;
- an outreach information service for employers;
- information and resource sharing services among participating organisations.
- What is an Acquired Disability?
Acquired disability is a disability that has developed during the person’s lifetime – that is, a disability that is the result of an accident or illness rather than a disability the person was born with. The most common acquired disabilities that affect attendance at work are musculoskeletal problems (for example, back pain) and mental health issues (for example, stress, depression, anxiety).
- To facilitate an employee with disability, I need to improve access to our building. Can I get any help with costs?
Contact your local Workplace Contact in the DSP – see here for a list of contacts.
Also check out the Employee Retention Grant Scheme (ERGS). This scheme helps employers to retain employees who acquire a disability.
Assistance is in two phases:
1. Help with developing a retention strategy – up to 90% of the cost to a maximum of €2,500;
2. Implementing the retention strategy – up to 90% of the cost to a maximum of €12,500.
For new employees with disability (as opposed to an existing employee) check out the Workplace Equipment/ Adaptation Grant (WEAG) to adapt the workplace or buy specialised equipment for staff with disabilities. The maximum available grant is €6,348.70.
- I recruited a new employee and now it has come to light that they have a disability. Should they have told me before accepting the job?
No. The employee is under no obligation to inform you of their disability. When a disability does become known, you as an employer are obliged to make reasonable accommodation.
It is best practice when you are advertising, recruiting and interviewing to make sure that the job specification is clear and specific.
- Can I ask job applicants if they have any health or disability issues when interviewing them?
You can ask applicants if they have any condition that may affect how they do the job and what accommodation, if any, they need to enable them to perform the tasks involved in the job. Applicants are only required to disclose issues that are relevant to the job.
- What is the EmployAbility service?
The Employability service is an employment and recruitment service aimed at assisting people with a disability to secure and maintain a job.
- Can I get any financial help with paying the wages of a disabled person?
The Employee Retention Grant is for employers in the private sector to retain employees who have acquired a disability, whatever the cause. The Wages Subsidy Scheme provides finanacial support of wage rates for those working 21 hours or more a week. For further information see department of social welfare
- Where do I advertise vacancies so I can attract people with disabilities
Local and community newspapers are particularly successful for people with disabilities, but there are other resources, such as:
Local EmployAbility service provider
Family and friends of current employees
Shop windows and public notice boards
Word of mouth
Your business website
- How are ‘reasonable accommodation’ and ‘disproportionate burden’ measured?
If you, as an employer, have to make changes to the workplace or work practices in order to accommodate a disabled employee, the demands should be ‘reasonable’ and should not impose a ‘disproportionate burden’ on you. In other words, the changes and the costs should be realistic for the business to bear.
In determining whether the changes would impose a disproportionate burden, several things are taken into account:
- the financial and other costs involved;
- the scale and financial resources of your business; and
- the possibility of obtaining public funding or other assistance.
- If myself and my employee cannot agree what is reasonable accommodation, what do we do?
If yourself and your employee can’t agree a reasonable solution, the normal dispute resolution steps may be followed. For example, the employee may lodge a complaint through the WRC (Work Relations Commission).
- Are there any grants or incentives available
A wage subsidy scheme is available through INTREO for an employee with a disability where there is a productivity shortfall. The Subsidy is €5.30 per hour and the job must be for a minimum of 21 hours per week.
- Will my insurance cost increase?
No. The Irish Insurance Federation advises that once a safe working environment is provided and the employees have been given the necessary health and safety training, there is no increase on cost for employing a person with a disability.
- Can I terminate a contract at any time?
As with all staff members, the same terms and conditions apply
- What about customer perception of my business?
Showing corporate social responsibility through inclusion can reflect on your business in a very positive manner. Employing a person with a disability has been shown to assist companies to attract and maintain a wider customer base.