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Disabled People Discriminated Against In Employment

13 August 2013

Disabled People Discriminated Against In Employment

One of New Zealand’s leading disability services provider today urged the Government to help end the discrimination of disabled people in employment.
CCS Disability Action said there was clear evidence of discrimination against disabled people in access to employment.

Despite this New Zealand still does not collect quarterly data on the unemployment rate amongst disabled people, unlike the United Kingdom and the United States.

David Matthews, CCS Disability Action Chief Executive, said: “In a survey of employers last year, 78 per cent said they believed disabled people were discriminated against in employment.

“Disabled people are overrepresented on benefits and in unemployment. In 2011, 35 per cent of people on a main benefit claimed a disability allowance. Only 45 per cent of disabled people were in the labour force compared to 77 per cent of people without disabilities.”

He added: “Without accurate data, how do we know whether we are actually addressing the issue? When the government starts collecting regular data, I will know it is serious.”
Disability discrimination is also the most common employment complaint received by the Human Rights Commission, said Mr Matthews.

“The evidence is there and this is an issue that affects us all. When disabled people are shut out from employment, we all lose. Employment can not only make a real difference to an individual’s life, but is also key to our prosperity as a society. Discriminating against a whole group of our society, really hurts our job market.

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Mr Matthews said that addressing the discrimination was a complicated issue and required the serious attention of the Government and the country.

“In the same survey of employers, nearly all employers believed that disabled people deserved a fair go and that their low rate of employment was an issue.

“These positive attitudes, however, seemed to have no effect on their willingness to hire disabled employees. This is far deeper than just an awareness issue. People also need accessible transport and workplaces. Support services need to flexible enough to support someone at work. Employers need to be willing to really give disabled job candidates a fair go. There are no quick fixes.”

ENDS

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