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Friday, May 5, 2023

Accommodating Disabled Workers Will Have Low Cost and High Impact

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that a new report finds that nearly half of the workplace accommodations made for people with disabilities can be implemented at no cost to employers, and of those that do incur a one-time cost, the median expenditure has decreased when compared to previous reports to only $300.
The newly published report “Accommodation and Compliance: Low Cost, High Impact” by the Job Accommodation Network - a service of the department's Office of Disability Employment Policy - analyzes survey data collected from employers from 2019 to 2022.


The survey collected cost information from employers using online questionnaires, which significantly increased the number and diversity of responses.

Before 2019, JAN collected cost information via one-on-one phone calls. These employers, representing various industry sectors and sizes, contacted JAN for information initially about workplace accommodations and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to gathering information about accommodations' costs, the survey explores employers' motivations for making them, their effectiveness, and the benefits they produced.

The report includes the following findings:

* More than half of employers made accommodations to retain valued employees.

* 68.4 percent of employers said the accommodations made were very effective or extremely effective after consulting JAN. Another 18.3 percent of employers said accommodations were somewhat effective after consulting JAN.

* accommodations' direct and indirect benefits included retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers' compensation and training costs, and increasing workforce diversity.


“This report reinforces what Job Accommodation Network has repeatedly in its work observed, which is that accommodations for disabled workers are indeed a low-cost, high-impact strategy for supporting and retaining valued talent,” explained Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams.

“The report also reinforces the importance of JAN's role in helping employers understand available options and implement viable solutions that work for both the employee and organization as a whole.”

An accommodation is a modification to the work environment or how a job is customarily done to enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Under the ADA, covered employers must provide Reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities when requested unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.

Funded by ODEP, JAN is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and other disability employment issues. JAN assists businesses of all sizes in determining effective accommodations for a broad range of conditions and on how to support workers with Long COVID.


Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.