Beginning Monday, March 24th, 2014, businesses that work with the Federal Government will be required to set goals to employ people with disabilities at a rate of 7 percent and in doing so, keep track of their progress. The new law permits companies to invite employees to self-disclose a disability, allowing the company to conduct an internal census. With this data, companies can ensure their recruiting and hiring practices do not inadvertently exclude qualified candidates with disabilities. Employee are not required to disclose a disability.
This rule change stems from an effort to combat chronic unemployment of people with disabilities. Most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2012:
1) The unemployment rate for non-disabled Americans stood at 8 percent, but almost doubled to 15 percent for people with disabilities;
2) The workforce participation rate for non-disabled Americans was 31.6 percent, while 76.5 percent of people with disabilities in the same age group were out of the work force entirely;
3) Median household income for a person reporting a disability was $25,420, compared to $59,411 for someone without a disability“ These numbers remain unchanged over the past 40 years despite dramatic improvements in access to physical workplaces, technology, and policy,” says attorney David Newburger, co-director of Starkloff Disability Institute. “Many people with disabilities want to work but face barriers.”