Frequently Asked Questions
How do employment supports help build a strong, skilled workforce?
Employers offer many different types of employment supports to attract and retain talented, hard-working employees and to help those employees perform their jobs.
Many, but not all, employment supports are provided by employers. For example, employers provide technology and equipment such as computers, fax machines, copiers, and phones, that employees need to do their jobs. They may also provide employment supports in the form of benefits, such as health insurance and leave, transportation subsidies and employer-sponsored van pools, and flexible spending accounts to help with child care. All of these things make it possible for employers to retain valuable employees and for employees to do their best on the job.
No. The term “reasonable accommodation” is found in a number of federal laws protecting the employment rights of persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Reasonable accommodation is also required by Sections 501, 503 and 504 of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Guidance on reasonable accommodation is available from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission . Guidance on what types of accommodations might be appropriate for a variety of functional limitations is available from the Job Accommodation Network, a free service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor.
While “employment supports” are not legal requirements, they are very helpful, and sometimes critical, to the successful completion of a job search for many persons with disabilities. Imagine being offered a dream job in a city 500 miles away, but being unable to find an accessible apartment or accessible transportation in that city. Employment supports do more than just help a disabled applicant land a job, they also assist the person on the job. Employee benefits such as health care, child support and van pools are just a few examples of employment supports designed to help employees be happy and productive in the workplace.
Who pays for employment supports?
Many employment supports are paid for by the individual workers themselves, while others are paid for by more than one source. For example, workers and employers often share the cost of health insurance. Likewise, disability agencies or providers help individuals purchase, adapt and learn how to use many technology and transportation supports. Communities also provide some employment supports, such as accessible transportation.
Employers may be able to offset the cost of providing certain employment supports and making their businesses accessible to persons with disabilities by taking advantage of one or more of three tax incentives.
How can employers and businesses find out more about employment supports and reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities?
Employers can get information and resources on employment supports and reasonable accommodations in the workplace by contacting the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is a free consulting service, funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, designed to support the hiring and career advancement of people with disabilities by providing individualized worksite accommodations solutions.
Another great source of information about how to make employment-related reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities is DisabilityInfo.gov . The site is a comprehensive online resource designed to provide people with disabilities, employers and others with information on accommodations, employment resources, tax incentives, and other relevant information.