Disability Equity and Inclusion

The challenges impacting persons with disabilities in South African employment are more complex and challenging than in most other countries; since race and gender are often prioritised above disability equity. It is also often not considered that disability spans all levels, all categories, all races and all genders. A dedicated and focused approach is needed to position disability as a key priority. The mainstreaming of disability concerns in terms of all aspects of employment is required; instead of being regarded as an add-on, disability equity and inclusion should be regarded as an integrated component of workplace diversity and inclusion work.

Employers are thus urged to make concerted efforts to improve their policy framework, physical environment and workplace culture so as to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities – and to enable such individuals to make meaningful contributions to their jobs in ways that help them to realise their full potential. South Africa’s Employment Equity Act and the South African National Standards – Building Regulations provide comprehensive rules and guidelines to assist employers to make their workplaces free from discrimination and more accessible to diverse groups of employees with and without disabilities.  It is important that employers familiarise themselves with these legislative provisions to fully understand and adhere to it. The SAHRC has designed a framework for employers may know where to start, what to do or how to go about creating workplaces that are inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities.

Core aspects to addressed in this regard are as follows:

  • Defining and understanding disability 

  • Disability legislation 

  • The rights of employees with disabilities 

  • Reasonable accommodation 

  • Creating inclusive cultures for people with disabilities 

  • Developing a workplace disability strategy 

  • Establishing disability networks and workplace support groups 

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