Employing persons with disabilities: fears and realities.

In terms of employment and participation on the labor market, persons with disabilities are an underemployed group of the workforce. In countries with civil rights legislation, unemployment rates are approximately twice what they are for persons without disabilities and it can be assumed that the rates are even worse in countries without such laws. It is therefore imperative that deliberate steps are taken to ensure absorption of this group of persons in to the workforce.

Persons with disabilities are frequently not considered potential members of the workforce. Perception, fear, myth and prejudice continue to limit understanding and acceptance of disability in work places everywhere, myths abound including that persons with disabilities are unable to work and that accommodating a person with disability in the work place is expensive. Contrary to this notion, many companies have found that persons with disabilities are more capable provided there is reasonable accommodation given to them.

In Kenya the real obstacle lies with the employers, many are still hesitant to take on employees with disabilities, however employers in Kenya should be able to take advantage of the many benefits that come with the employment of persons with disabilities including the tax rebates that come from the Government of Kenya, an employer in Kenya upon showing the extent to which he has tried to accommodate persons with disabilities in his workforce , the persons with disabilities Act 2003 entitles him to claim a percentage of relief in taxes from the government. Employers also stand to gain from a dedicated pool of talent specialized in different fields of study.


Kennedy Okongo