Reasons to Hire Disabled Employees

There's is no set-in-stone reason why you shouldn't hire the disabled. Instead, there are quite a few myths that prevent businesses from hiring disabled employees. For example, a company that wants to stay competitive might look at hiring a disabled employee as a risk if there is even the slightest possibility they might not stay in the position.

But the fears business owners have are completely unfounded. Qualified, differently-abled individuals are still dependable workers who would make great additions to any company's workforce.


Making Your Business ADA Compliant Isn't as Expensive as You Think

businesswoman in wheelchair at office
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According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Job Accommodation Network, 57 percent of accommodations cost nothing; the remaining 43 percent averages around $500.

Every disability is different, so the accommodations needed are not the same for every disabled employee. It is also important to note that there are many grants and government incentives that help cover the cost of providing accommodations for the disabled.


Disabled Employees Don't Miss More Work Than Non-Disabled Employees

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that disabled individuals have a weaker constitution and are more susceptible to illness. Unless the disabled worker has an immune deficiency, they are no more susceptible to becoming ill than any able-bodied worker. They can be counted on to show up for work on time and perform their jobs like anyone else.

According to a study that compared cost-benefits trends in 13 different U.S. companies, workers with disabilities had 1.24 fewer scheduled absences and 1.13 more unscheduled absences.


Disabled Employees Do Not Need to Be Protected From Failure

While many disabled employees meet and often exceed expectations, they don't need to be protected from failure. Everyone is entitled to experience both triumphs and failure, and the disabled worker is no different. Employers should expect a disabled employee to meet the same job standards as their able-bodied co-workers as long as reasonable accommodations have been made so that they can meet those standards.


Disabled Employees Meet or Exceed Job Performance Standards

According to a 1981 DuPont study of 2,745 employees, 92 percent of disabled employees rated average or better in job performance compared to 90 percent for those who weren't disabled. While there isn't a big difference between the two groups, the disabled workers in the study appear to hold their own when it comes to job performance in the workplace.

If an employee is hired based on their job qualifications, they should be able to complete their job tasks the same as anyone else in the same position, regardless of a disabling condition. This assumes that the disabled person is provided with reasonable accommodations for their disability so that they are on equal footing with the able-bodied employee.


Hiring Disabled Workers Will Not Raise a Company's Insurance Rates

Hiring disabled workers will not raise worker's compensation insurance rates or health insurance premiums. The worker's compensation rate is calculated based on the hazards relative to the operation of the business. It also includes the rate of accident incidence at the business site. Therefore hiring a disabled worker will not increase the rate charged to a business for their worker's compensation.

Health insurance rates will not increase based on hiring a disabled employee either. According to the federal government, many disabled individuals who also receive Social Security disability income also receive Medicare benefits, and others utilize the Medicaid buy-in option.

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  1. US Department of Labor. Employers and the ADA: Myths and Facts.

  2. Hernandez B, McDonald, K. Exploring the bottom line: a study of the costs and benefits of workers with disabilities. 2007.

  3. Lengnick-Hall ML, Gaunt PM, and Kulkarni M. Overlooked and underutilized people with disabilities are an untapped human resource. Hum Resour Manage. 2008;47(2):255-273.

  4. USAGov. Benefits and Insurance for People with Disabilities. Updated September 12, 2019.