Meath Labour’s Equality Officer, Reuben Hambakachere, has said that the recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on disability, work and inclusion in Ireland had shocking findings on the employment of disabled people that needed to be addressed immediately.
In relation to Ireland, the report found that as few as one person in three with disabilities had a job, one of the lowest in Europe and the OECD area.
Speaking on the report, Hambakachere stated, “Irish employers need to up the rate at which they are employing staff with disabilities. We know from people contacting us that since the start of the Covid pandemic, people with disabilities have been severely impacted by the withdrawal of training and support services.
‘However, we also know that employers can now capitalise on new opportunities for people with disabilities given the increased incidence of working from home and given the development of new assistive technologies. There are also a number of schemes to support the employment of people with disabilities”
“But the report also highlights that many employers are not aware of the current state funded schemes that aim to stimulate employment of persons with disabilities. The report makes a number of sound recommendations to get more people with disabilities into the workplace, including expanding Intreo’s services for people with disabilities by proactively reaching out to Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension and Illness Benefits recipients to offer effective employment programmes”.
“The report also recommends that the Government create a dedicated employer service within Intreo that employers know and can access easily at no cost. It also suggests introducing a statutory entitlement to working-time flexibility, working-hour reduction and working from home – building on the positive experiences during the pandemic. On the introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme – something for which the Labour Party has been campaigning – the report says the government should develop a complete system that covers all health conditions and all types of employment”.