IES Blog

New law would reduce unemployment rate for those with disabilities

Posted on December 16th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

The United States Labor Department recently proposed a rule that would require companies to devote more resources and recruiting efforts to hiring disabled contract workers, Fox News reports.

Currently, eight in 10 working-age Americans with disabilities are out of the workforce, while the unemployment rate for the demographic is 13 percent – far higher than the overall rate of 8.6 percent.

"This is probably the greatest proposal for real substantive change since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Patricia Shiu, director of the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, told the media outlet. "For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a 'good faith' effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly, that's not working."

The rule would apply primarily to companies with federal contracts, and would require 7 percent of their staff to be disabled workers.

This has some small business owners worried, as they believe the increased costs and paperwork associated with reaching such a benchmark could add up and create problems.

According to the Daily Caller, the Labor Department will take comments on the rule for 60 days before it's considered for final approval in 2012. 

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