UK figures from Helen Cooke (see http://helencookedownunder.wordpress.com/) indicate that 83% of people with disability (PWD) have an acquired disability, the average age being 45 years old. Assuming Australia is similar (to be confirmed), the implication is that a large proportion of PWD on government support may have worked for a number of years, and therefore may have some capacity to return to work.
If the government gave some financial incentive to employers to keep employees who acquire a disability EMPLOYED, there would be less PWD unemployed. From the government point of view they pay both ways, but potentially less if the PWAD is working, in some form, for longer. The individual benefits from working as well as the employer.
The other reason to incentivize and assist employers to retain PWAD is that all research indicates that the longer someone is unemployed, the more difficult it is to become reemployed – whether this is due to loss of confidence or loss of skills.
The current success rate for re-employment of PWAD is low, and difficult to increase, so the government has to consider other mechanisms to reduce unemployment amongst PWAD.
Financial incentives to employers raise 3 questions:
- Is this approach feasible?
- What are the alternatives?
- Can we afford NOT to do anything about this?
Posted by Mark Glascodine