Topic 1: Partial Return-to-Work - closed

Create a Statewide Partnership for Reasonable Accommodations

There are many organizations that advocate for disabled persons. Very few have addressed the issue of employment and effective reasonable accommodations in full time let alone "partial" work. Even State VR counselors are not aware of how important the request for Reasonable Accommodations can be in getting a person back into the workforce full-time, "partially" or "part-time". A partnership between the state/federal DOL, state VR, state/ federal Dept ED, public /private representative employers, disability advocacy organizations represented by consumers could address the need to make partial return to work more positively received by current, former or new employers of persons with disabilities.

 

This Partnership could help so much in educating everyone as to how critical this step is in making sure the return to work is possible and can be successful. The RA process is supposed to be dynamic and flexible and this partnership could include guidelines that allow for a simple and effective way to address this dynamic.

 

Many employers (including federal) view Reasonable Accommodations as costly and too much"of a pain" to handle. They also have very uninformed, untrained staff with no management decision making authority overseeing the RA process internally. This partnership could be very effective in bringing the issue of return to work to a level of "rewarding" and "positive" versus "loathing" and "un-worthwhile" for the employer.

 

Lastly, the employee's success in partial return to work could become benchmarking point for a nationwide "challenge" to citizens and employers to encourage work and productivity regardless of disability. For instance, the number of federal employees with disabilities alone that have attempted to remain employed with disabilities or return to work that were met with delays in RA and then never received them is staggering. This Partnership could be very effective in encouraging success and stopping the horrific number of persons not being provided RA in order to have a successful transition back to work partially. Partial ROW could be the start of fully returning to work or job sharing if employers found this Partnership support for drafting effective RA and were rewarded for willingly following the "rule of law".

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Idea No. 42