Discussion about policies affecting working families continues beyond October’s National Work & Family Month. Continuing our series focusing on important issues, Robin Shaffert, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility of the American Association of People with Disabilities, wrote an article for The Huffington Post.
The post, titled “Workplace Flexibility and People with Disabilities,” details the benefits of work flexibility programs for people with disabilities or who care for people with disabilities. Shaffert presents information suggesting these flexible arrangements are beneficial for both the workers and the employers.
Here’s an excerpt:
There are many ways in which flexibility can be important. A part-time schedule may be essential for an employee who does not have the endurance to work forty hours a week and for a parent who needs to participate in a child’s therapies, take a child to medical appointments, or just to spend more time with a child. Working non-standard hours may be important to help employees who cannot drive align their work schedules with public transportation schedules or to allow employees to take additional breaks to meet medical needs. The ability to vary the place where they work is important to employees with disabilities that make it difficult for them to leave their homes, and it can increase family members’ ability to be involved in care and treatment. Some employees seek flexible work arrangements all of the time; others ask for flexibility only intermittently to meet specific needs like attending meetings at a child’s school or taking a parent to doctor’s appointments.
There is an ever-expanding body of evidence that flexible work arrangements benefit employees and employers. Studies have been cited in blog posts suggesting that flexible work policies reduce stress and improve health, and that they increase job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. All of these benefits can contribute to improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Almost twenty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are still looking for solutions to end the pervasive unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities. It is unlikely that we will find a single solution, but increasing workplace flexibility is a step in the right direction.
Publications, research studies and toolkits on a host of other workforce readiness, flexibility, family economic stability, and work and family balance issues are also available on the Corporate Voices Web site.
By Allison Porton