AHEAD welcomes the Review of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund and Disability Awareness Support Scheme
AHEAD welcomes the Review of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund and Disability Awareness Support Scheme published today by the Department of Social Protection, which has addressed many of the points we called for in our submission.
AHEAD were invited by the Department of Social Protection to make a submission on the Reasonable Accommodation Fund and other associated supports for disabled people in the workplace in April 2021. Following this, the Department launched a public consultation in April – May 2022 where AHEAD re-submitted the recommendations outlined previously.
It is heartening to see that almost all of recommendations made by AHEAD, have been reflected in the review such as;
- Streamlining the fund and simplifying the application process for all parties and that it is focused on a needs-based approach.
- Implementing an approval in principle for grants, which is vital for those wishing to enter the workplace but also commencing a new role without undue delay.
- Increase the number of support hours are appropriate to the full range of supports that people with disabilities may need to participate in employment which include sign language interpreting support in the workplace.
- Widening the scope of the Disability Awareness Support Scheme to include funding for employers seeking to proactively make their workplace more disability friendly and for more specific training on inclusive recruitment and disability specific awareness.
Caroline McGrotty, Employment Manager at AHEAD says; "It is wonderful to see the Department undertake this much needed review and that specific actions are in place. It is crucial that the State provide financial supports to employers in meeting their obligations under the Employment Equality Act but also to enable more disabled people to actively participate and progress in employment having the appropriate reasonable accommodations.".
AHEAD look forward to the implementation of the reformed scheme in Q1 of 2024 and also the upcoming review of the Wage Subsidy Scheme.