Monday, April 9, 2012

The Wrong Way to Help Workers with Disabilities

From today's edition of The Wall Street Journal an op-ed piece by James Bovard, the author of "Attention Deficit Democracy" (Palgrave, 2006),  who is working on a memoir.

 The Obama administration is on the verge of compelling most of the largest corporations and universities, as well as many smaller businesses, to adopt a 7% hiring quota for disabled job applicants — lest they be debarred from doing business with the federal government. This radical personnel policy could raise costs and slash the productivity of almost 200,000 companies with U.S. government contracts.
Announcing the proposed regulations for the quota last Dec. 8, Patricia Shiu, director of the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), declared: "For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a 'good faith' effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly, that's not working."
The evidence? Primarily that the percentage of disabled with jobs is lower now than it was in the 1980s. Yet as HR Policy, an association of chief human-resource officers, notes, the federal government itself has only 5% disabled on its payrolls—and the Labor Department's percentage of disabled employees has decreased every year since President Obama took office, despite a sharp increase in the number of department employees.

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