Employers ask during the prescreening or the interview process for those returning to work to provide initial explanation for loss of work experience. Does the answer the applicant provides create bias that the person doesn't want to work or may be a liability because of chronic conditions? Is this where the employer 'moves on' because they anticipate long delays to having the applicant 'ramp up' after hire? The decision making on hiring from there needs to be reported and studied.
In my participating in work reinvestment programs, what has been offered to me is to retrain when I already have a higher education degree and then apply to a job where underemployment is my only option. These attempts at blanket responses instead of incentivizing employers to incorporate workers with their current skills puts the onus on the disabled to prove they will be value added to the organization. There should be a better assessment of the disabled at their skills for current jobs.
Reducing expenditures of the SSI/SSDI programs should be a concern for all employers and perhaps a mandated amount of employed disabled workers per organization size (# of employees) should be considered in order for all to share the burden and to provide ample opportunities for disabled persons to return to work. Provision of tax credits with voluntary participation currently appears to not pose enough incentive to adequately address these issues. Also employers truly embracing telecommuting as an opportunity for those with more chronic conditions to participate in the workforce is important. This re-engineering of human resource departments to accept that monitoring disabled workers remotely or needing specialized services is a important part in offering opportunities to the disabled, reducing underemployment, and embracing this population as part of the working fabric of any organization. Perhaps considering grant opportunities for employers to set up disabled workers remotely should be considered for organizations to off-set the costs of this major undertaking.
DOL should perhaps also consider regional sectors to assist employers in geographical areas with proper training, resources and support to absorb contractual, PT, or full time gainful employment for the disabled participant, whether working remotely or not. If there is a contractual agreement that the employer has then met requirements by DOL standards and the employee successfully completes to be absorbed into the organization, then disability payments can be rolled back, reduced, and/or ended. Tax credits can be offered when these obligations are met. The legal implications of such these structures should be studied as well.
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