by Becky Bro, M.Ed, CRC
Did you know that the average cost of a job accommodation is $500?
In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Job Action Network (JAN), most employer/survey participants reported no cost, or low cost, for accommodating employees with disabilities. Of the employers who provided cost information related to the accommodations they had provided, 59% reported that the accommodations needed by their employees cost absolutely nothing, 36% reported they incurred a one-time cost, 3% reported having a reoccurring cost and only 1% of the employers surveyed reported their employee accommodations required a combination of a one-time and reoccurring cost to set up and maintain.
Of the accommodations that only had a one-time cost, the median one-time expenditure, as reported by the surveyed employers, was $500. When asked how much more they paid for an employee requiring an accommodation beyond what they would have paid for an employee who did not, the median answer given by employers was $300(https://askjan.org/topics/costs.cfm).
Additional findings from the survey revealed that these employers wanted to provide accommodations so that they could retain valued and qualified employees. As a result of their efforts, they experienced multiple direct and indirect benefits including an increase in the employee’s productivity as well as the elimination of the often costly and disruptive task of hiring and training a new employee. The most widely mentioned indirect benefits that resulted from an employee accommodation were improved interactions with co-workers, improved company morale and increased overall company productivity.
Every day employees who have been injured on the job or who are managing a disabling condition remain out of work despite the fact that their health care provider has determined that they have the functional capacity to return to productive work with an accommodation. Unfortunately, many employers are concerned that accommodating employees will be cost prohibitive or in some way disruptive to the workplace. As the JAN survey cited above suggests, this concern is most often unwarranted and there is much to be gained by providing reasonable accommodations to an employee when the need arises.
The case managers at ExamWorks Clinical Solutions are committed to helping employers understand that, not only are work-place accommodations typically low-cost, but they also positively impact the workplace. If you or your organization would like more information about how we can help your employees return to work and stay at work, please contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Becky Bro
Becky Bro, M.Ed., CRC is the National Director of Vocational and Disability Services for ExamWorks Clinical Solutions. Becky works with customers to create program models that integrate disability and absence management programs to align with corporate structures and cultures to reduce the impact of lost work days. She is a certified rehabilitation counselor with 15 years of experience working in the disability services and worker’s compensation arena. Becky spent several years working in the financial services industry as a financial analyst, auditor, financial services manager, and consultant. She holds a Master’s degree in Higher Counselor Education from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Brigham Young University.