MEDIA RELEASE: Creating work opportunities for people with disabilities to get out of poverty
Thursday, 23 May
In New Zealand people with disabilities earn just half of the average income of people without disabilities. This discrepancy is a specific part of New Zealand’s poverty problem, and it’s time to talk about the way we change this story by removing the significant barriers to employment faced by people with disabilities.
Maxim Institute’s latest research Creating Opportunities: Opening doors to employment for people with disabilities offers practical ideas and tools to supercharge conversations with employers and policy-makers about what can make work a reality for more people.
Maxim Institute CEO Alex Penk says, “74% of people with disabilities that aren’t currently working want to be working. Our research shows real opportunity here for the Government to redesign supports for employers and people with disabilities to give both parties the confidence to realise work as a real and sustainable path out of poverty for many.”
“We’re suggesting proven innovations like an Employment Support Passport that people can give to a potential employer to let them know what kind of financial and practical support can be provided, or a new “one stop shop” that can provide support, advice, and examples of how these arrangements continue to benefit both employer and employee,” says Alex Penk. “We want to see Government and employers demonstrate an openness to employing people who have struggled to find employment simply because they may need certain practical accommodations in the workplace.”
Mr Penk says, “We have to move from simply acknowledging the abilities of New Zealanders with disabilities, and move to creating opportunities that open doors to sustainable, valuable work.”