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Australia Preconceived notions see drop in employment for people with disability, advocates warn

00:40  19 september  2021
00:40  19 september  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Because most people in charge of hiring for a position have preconceived notions regarding disability . There have been many times when I had applied for a job, made it through the first five interviews over the phone, passed the tests with ease, and was fully qualified to do the job. People don't generally hire people with problems as they normally want robots. A lot of disabilities cause pain or fatigue, which makes the entire process of digging through websites for job postings more difficult by nature. And people with disabilities will have challenges unique to their disability when job hunting.

Persons with disabilities and people with long-term health conditions have lower employment rates than the rest of the population, no matter what their qualification level. According to the disability community, the biggest barriers to employment is prejudice and fear about potential additional costs for the employer, such as special transport costs for the employee with disabilities . Another is responsibility to meet the pension costs, should the employee become permanently incapacitated for work.


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Getting a driver's licence was a big step to independence for 26-year-old Michaela Jones.

But the next big step — a job — has remained out of reach.

She thinks it's no fault of her own, but rather employers' perceptions of her disabilities and what she is capable of.

She has a vision impairment and an intellectual disability.

"It [a job] would change everything because I have now got a car to pay for and I'd like to help my Mum because she has helped me," Ms Jones said.

"It would give me experience and I would be able to take it anywhere else."

Ms Jones has a Certificate III in Individual Support, has worked as a floor attendant collecting glasses in a club and now does work experience at a cafe for disability service provider ROPE in Margate.

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Decide to drop them and see how it feels like to be open in the real time with the people and places around you. Read more from me: What would happen if we completely surrender? The difference is in how aware you are of your preconceived notions /biases, how much you are willing to share them and how flexible/fluid or rigid your notions are. While we all consciously or subconsciously evaluate a person as soon as we meet them, those who make flexible assessments (open to possibility of error in judgement) will not be judgemental and not jump into final conclusions about the person.

Preconceived notions affect people everyday by making people take a position in how they relate to one another and the things they view as having value . Qualifying ‘ notion ’ with ‘premature’ indicates that there is something missing from consideration, implying that the notion is somehow flawed. Qualifying it as ‘ preconceived ’ has no similar direct connotation, since that notion could be accurate or not. In general usage the two are probably perceived as having the same negative connotation, putting them together like they are in your question makes people consider the connotations more deeply.

"What I wish is to have a life like everyone else, even though I have got a disability I don't think of it as a disability. I think of it as a different ability," she said.

She said in her previous job she wasn't "treated nicely" and was always delegated to work in the smoking area.

She has continually looked for work since her last job ended, but hasn't been able to secure anything.

"We didn't have the choice of getting disabilities — it was given to us — we didn't have the choice. God made us the same as everyone else but with different abilities."

She said if she was given the chance she would love to work with animals.

An issue of 'opportunity' not disability

Wes Bleakley is the CEO of disability service provider ROPE, based in Redcliffe, north of Brisbane.

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preconceived notion . Definitions of preconceived notion . noun. an opinion formed beforehand without adequate evidence. see moresee less.

Disability : IN administers the annuel Disability Equality Index (DEI), a free benchmarking tool that provides a confidential opportunity to receive an objective score on disability inclusion policies and practices. Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy , research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self- advocates .

The organisation is funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and runs employment training, provides support workers and runs group activities for people with disabilities.

Mr Bleakley said people with disabilities are being held back and are missing out on employment opportunities due to a lack of understanding and preconceived notions by employers.

"I think a lot of people tend to think that it is one of those things where it's a hard thing to do in the workforce," he said.

"You know [they think] you've got someone with a disability so you're going to need to give them this constant sort of support. You're going to be watching over them all the time."

He said the NDIS had made a big difference to how people with disabilities fit into the workplace — but employers have not yet caught up.

He said in many instances support workers were able to help people in their roles in the workplace and ensure they were able to do the job.

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Employment for disabled people . Disability definitions and etiquette. The benefits of being a disability confident organisation. Rates of disability increase with age and 45% of people aged over 65 have a disability . The financial opportunity cost to New Zealand of this employment and education differential for disabled people has been estimated at around NZ.7b. This does not include the value to communities and businesses of being inclusive of all New Zealanders, and the value to individuals from playing a more significant part in their communities through working.

Employers that do require vaccination must abide by the December 2020 guidance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which doesn't address EUA status directly but does say that an employee 's disability must be considered when an employer inquires about his or her vaccination status. In an interview with Medscape Medical News, Marc Boom, MD, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said that the health system's legal counsel had advised the organization that it was on solid legal ground in requiring its staff to get vaccinated as a condition of employment .

"I actually think that the general population wants to be involved with people with a disability, they just don't know how, and they're just not being given the right tools and the right information to understand how it works.

"With our guys [clients] they're dying to get out there and get work," he said.

Labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed involvement of people who identified as having an intellectual disability in the workforce had decreased.

In 2003, 41.1 per cent of those who identified as having an intellectual disability were employed compared with 29.1 per cent in 2018.

There was also a decrease in labour involvement among a broader group of people who identified as "having difficulty learning or understanding things'".

In 2003, 42.8 per cent of that cohort were involved in work, while in 2018 the rate was 38.1 per cent.

Mr Bleakley said he wanted employers to understand that "taking a risk" on someone with a disability was no different than taking a risk on anybody else.

"There's a lot of talent out there and there's a lot of ability out there in these participants to do things if they're given the chance. I think there is a workforce with these guys that can be doing jobs that a lot of other people in employment are not doing.

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"The issue is not the disability; the issue is giving them the opportunity to get out there and do the things that they want to do and give them a chance to try.

"By doing that, that's when all these other positive things will start happening and the face of disability will change greatly."

He said a job could make a huge difference to the life of someone with a disability.

"It's their confidence. It's their self-esteem. They feel like they're making a contribution to their community and they feel like they're a part of the community as well," he said.

Continual discrimination against people with unseen disabilities

Dr Yosheen Pillay from the University of Southern Queensland said there were clear "structural barriers" in places of employment that disadvantaged people with disabilities from getting a job.

Dr Pillay said it came down to a "limited understanding" of what people with disabilities "can and can't do".

"Autism, it's considered an invisible disability. Typically, when young people are interviewed, they come across as quite eloquent, quite capable, and so appear to be capable of doing a job that they have applied for, which in most cases is the case, but they need additional support," she said.

"A lot of the understanding of the actual concept of what a disability is is very closely attached to pigeon-holing."

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She said this was often not given much consideration when looking at recruitment, retention and long-term job success.

"Individuals with disability are categorised in a marginalised group. But according to research, according to the literature, [they are] typically reliable, very competent, and again, productive if matched at their abilities level."

Dr Pillay said individuals with disabilities could be "highly productive" when matched with an area of special interest.

"We see data reflecting that approximately 38 per cent of the population of individuals with autism are in employment."

She said individuals with autism all "present differently" and many are "under-employed" in jobs that do not meet their expertise.

"Employees hold the power," she said.

"If they embrace an attitude of inclusion and an attitude of robust workplace professional development and training for co-workers, it becomes a holistic approach to support that can actually increase diversity in their teams and improve staff morale," she said.

Segregated workplaces should be 'a thing of the past'

Matilda Alexander, CEO of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, said many people with intellectual disabilities were employed in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE), often called "sheltered workshops".

"It [sheltered workshops] is an old-school term, but it still sort of describes what they are," Ms Alexander said.

"They are away from the rest of the world, they're sheltered in that they're not under the same rules as everyone else."

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She said about 20,000 NDIS participants work in ADEs.

"They've certainly failed to do what they set out to do in terms of moving people into employment. Only about 1 per cent of people employed in ADEs end up in open employment, so rather than incentivising people with a disability into the workforce, ADEs and the supported wage system that is behind them demeans the contribution of employees," she said.

She said the supported wage system assessed people on the basis of a prediction of their productivity.

"It's not consistent with requirements to treat people with disabilities equally, because they don't require workers with a disability to be paid the national minimum wage," she said

"Despite what work they do, the supported wage system allows payments of as little as $90 a week for full-time work."

She said people may be assessed that they can work at 70 per cent the capacity of an average worker so they will be paid 70 per cent of a wage.

"Nobody else gets assessed for their productivity, before they start their work and then their wage pegged at that rate, so we shouldn't be accepting it as okay for people with disabilities."

She said from January 2022, changes to the NDIS pricing for supports would give participants more choice and control when it came to employment and allow greater freedom to use funding to support them working in businesses other than ADEs.

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usr: 2
This is interesting!