Meeting the needs of disabled employees

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The Employment Equality Act obliges employers to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities or long-term illnesses, meaning an employer must take “appropriate Irish Timesmeasures” to meet the needs of disabled people in the workforce. Essentially, these are some effective and practical changes that the employer can put in place, making sure employees with a disability can carry out their work on a par with others in the workplace. The employer is not obliged to provide anything the person would normally provide for themselves – for example, reading glasses or hearing aids – but needs to be aware of any practical solutions required of an employee with a disability.

For some businesses, this may sound daunting, but Maria Hegarty of Equality Strategies explains this is invariably easier, and cheaper, than it sounds. “The word ‘reasonable’ is entirely intentional and that’s what people need to focus on. Companies need to look at it from a cultural and strategic point of view.” She outlines the steps companies can take to meet the practical needs of disabled employees.

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