Policy Paper: Creating Opportunity
People with disabilities are overlooked in the national conversation on poverty and overrepresented in New Zealand’s poverty statistics. They face lower incomes, increased likelihood of reliance on government assistance, and a significant gap in the employment rate of people with disabilities in contrast to people without disabilities. Employment is, sadly, failing to provide the key pathway out of poverty for people with disabilities that it should.
Building on the work of our previous discussion paper Acknowledging Ability: Overcoming the barriers to employment for people with disabilities, this policy paper is a tool for those seeking to see more people with disabilities—the majority of whom want to work—in sustainable employment. There are significant benefits for employers, as people with disabilities often rate higher in job performance than employees without disabilities, and the costs involved are often much smaller than one might expect.
Too many people with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to participate in work. This needs to change. Employers around New Zealand are already trying to make this change but struggling to make progress, and many more are sympathetic but just don’t know where to begin. We hope that this paper and its recommendations will assist employers make changes and encourage government to ensure that employers have the support they need. We have to move from simply acknowledging the abilities of New Zealanders living with disabilities to creating opportunities that open the doors to sustainable, valuable work.
Read our previous discussion paper in this series: