How Remote Work is Changing the Playing Field for Workers With Disabilities

The more widespread acceptance of working from home is helping millions of Americans with disabilities get back into the workforce and find better job opportunities.

2 minute read

October 4, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Woman in wheelchair working at a home office desk

Pressmaster / Working from home.

Despite suffering some of the most severe job losses at the beginning of the pandemic, American workers with disabilities are now gaining from the remote work revolution, writes Molly Smith for Bloomberg, a trend that advocates hope will continue into the future as employers reevaluate the need for physical offices.

“The 42.5 million disabled Americans make up 13% of the civilian population, compared with the nearly 19% that is Hispanic and the almost 12% that's African American, according to 2021 Census data released on Sept. 15.” Many considered their working lives over until working from home became a much more mainstream possibility. According to the article, “The tight-as-a-drum labor market gives employers an incentive to maintain the remote-work benefit for disabled employees, which also helps companies diversify their workforces.”

Smith also notes that long Covid, with its serious and long-term complications, may soon fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act, making the numbers for workers with disabilities even higher. Smith also points out that “Just because a disabled person is working doesn’t necessarily mean that the conditions are fair. There’s a nationwide effort to crack down on the labor certificates, allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, that let companies pay people with disabilities a subminimum wage, but many employers still use them.” An increased focus on workers with disabilities could help further such efforts and make working conditions more equitable for all workers.

Monday, October 3, 2022 in Bloomberg

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