The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation is a member of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities Implementation Group. This Department has committed to highlight the supports that are available to facilitate the employment of people with disabilities in the open labour market, or to retain in the workforce employees who acquire a disability.
The following information, while hosted on the DJEI website, is maintained and updated by the relevant Government Departments/Agencies, which should be contacted for any clarification or for further information.
The National Disability Authority
The National Disability Authority is the independent state body providing expert advice on disability policy and practice to the government and the public sector, and promoting Universal Design in Ireland. The National Disability Authority has prepared guidance retaining employees who acquire a disability. This guide provides employers with information about how to help employees who have acquired a disability to stay in work or return to work after a period of recovery. This guidance is based on what research shows to make a difference. It is good practice for employers to develop a formal return to work policy that is specific to their own business.
“Retaining employees who acquire a disability: A guide for employers”
The NDA also conducts research on employment and disability, undertakes consultation, and hosts seminars and workshops, to inform policy advice. See the following link:
Employer Disability Information Service
The purpose of the Employer Disability Information Service is to provide employers with an expert peer source of advice and information on employing and retaining staff with disabilities and to enhance the confidence and competence of individual employers in this area.
The Service is a centrally based national resource for advice and information for employers and is funded by the Irish government as part of the comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities.
The service comprises:
- A helpline on a dedicated phone line providing advice and information to employers on employment of people with disabilities
- A central web-based information resource> www.employerdisabilityinfo.ie
- Forum on the website for employers to share experiences and learn from one another
- Using the current networks of the 3 employer bodies – Chambers, Ibec & ISME.
The Department of Social Protection (DSP)
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) offers a number of workplace supports schemes for people with disabilities and their employers or prospective employers.
1) Reasonable Accommodation Fund, comprising:
a) Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant;
b) Employee Retention Grant;
c) Job Interview Interpreter Grant;
d) Personal Reader Grant;
2) Wage Subsidy Scheme;
3) Disability Awareness Support Scheme;
4) EmployAbility Service.
Information about these schemes is available on the DSP website at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Workplace-Supports_holder.aspx.
Brief descriptions of these schemes, and individual links to each scheme, can be found below:
Reasonable Accommodation Fund
The Reasonable Accommodation Fund provides supports to assist employers to enable a person with a disability to have access to or to remain and progress in employment.
General information about the Reasonable Accommodation Fund is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Reasonable-Accommodation-Fund_holder.aspx.
a) Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant
This scheme provides employers with grants towards the cost of adapting premises or equipment to provide a more accessible workplace for people with disabilities.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Workplace-Equipment-Adaptation-Grant.aspx.
b) Employee Retention Grant
This scheme assists employers to retain an employee who acquires an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their ability to carry out their job.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Employee-Retention-Scheme.aspx.
c) Job Interview Interpreter Grant
This scheme provides funding to jobseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have a speech impairment to allow for the hiring of an interpreter to attend job interviews with the jobseeker. Funding may also be provided to cover the costs of an interpreter during an induction period.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Job-Interview-Interpreter-Grant.aspx.
d) Personal Reader Grant
An employee who is blind or visually impaired and who needs assistance with job-related reading can apply for a grant to employ a personal reader.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Personal-Reader-Grant.aspx.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial incentives to employers to employ people with a disability who work for 21 hours a week or more. The Scheme is structured in three strands:
Strand I – is a general subsidy for any perceived productivity shortfall in excess of 20% for an employee with a disability in comparison to a colleague without a disability.
Strand II – is to defray additional management and supervisory costs if an employer employs three or more people with a disability.
Strand III – is to assist with the cost of employing an Employee Assistance Officer if an employer employs 30 or more people with a disability.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Wage-Subsidy-Scheme_holder_3176.aspx.
Disability Awareness Support Scheme
This scheme provides funding so that employers can provide Disability Awareness training for employees who work with a colleague with a disability. This training should be aimed at assisting the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce.
Further information is at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Disability-Awareness-Training_holder.aspx.
Through the provision of Job Coaches, this scheme provides support to people with a disability to enable them to secure and maintain employment. The ultimate outcome is that the employee becomes independent of Job Coach support and is able to progress in their career.
A Contacts List of EmployAbility Organisations is available at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/List-of-Employability-Organisations.aspx.
An Information Pack entitled “Supports for People with Disabilities and for Employers” is available at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Supports-for-People-with-Disabilities-and-for-Employers---SW.aspx.