Keeping a newly disabled person in employment has a cost benefit of at
least 2.5 times an employer’s investment. This is a key finding of a
report launched today (6 October) at the Health and Wellbeing Conference
by the Royal National Institute of Blind People. The report outlines the
business case for employment retention, showing how it can deliver
financial benefits to the economy, to employers and to employees.

Evidence from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that 92 per cent
of people who left work because of their disability or
impairment felt that they could have stayed in their job had
interventions been made*. However, they were not offered any
adaptations, aids or adjustments.

The principal benefits of employment retention are that it allows the
employer to retain the employee’s accumulated skills and experience, and
the employee to maintain income and independence. Other savings for
businesses include:
* avoidance of redundancy pay or the costs associated with
terminating employment
* reduced costs of someone on long-term sick leave
* the costs of recruitment and induction training for replacement
* avoidance of costs from a claim arising from disability
discrimination cases
* intangible benefits of increased staff loyalty and morale, as
well as a workforce more representative of its customers and community.

Report author and RNIB Campaigns Officer, Philip Connolly says: “Having
examined the data, RNIB is calling on employers to support vocational
rehabilitation and adopt proactive employment retention policies. Not
only will these provide better outcomes for the individual, they will
also help businesses save money and keep valuable staff.”

Michael Young is an IT support engineer working for Aeroflex, a firm
which makes test equipment. Michael has retinitis pigmentosa, and since
joining the firm in 1998 has been slowly losing his sight.

Beverley Vincent, Head of Human Resources at Aeroflex, said: “Aeroflex
has always promoted a positive approach towards employees with
disabilities. As a company we work with our employees to offer them the
support and tools required to carry out their tasks effectively. We have
robust policies in place that coach line managers to play a vital role
in ensuring that the necessary adjustments are provided for both newly
disabled employees and those with long term or degenerative health

She added: “Having these measures in place is not only best practice; it
also makes good business sense as it allows us access to a wider labour
market. It also enables us to maintain productivity, enhance employee
engagement, and reduce staff churn and recruitment costs.”

Mr Young said: “As my sight deteriorated over the years, Aeroflex helped
me acquire CCTV magnifiers and other aids to allow me to continue in my
role. When my sight deteriorated further Aeroflex offered me a position,
using my existing skills and experience, within the IT department. With
the aid of a screen magnifier and screen reader, arranged through Access
to Work, I’m able to work as part of a team supporting over 1000 staff
across Europe.”

Adoption of employment retention is likely to become more important with
time. The Government is raising the retirement age and an older
workforce will mean that there will be more disabled workers too, since
disability is more prevalent with advancing age.

John Taylor, Chief Executive of ACAS said: “ACAS firmly supports
measures to retain employees who acquire health issues or long term
impairments. There are strong business reasons for doing so and this
report makes the case convincingly, setting out the costs and the
potential savings that can be realised by a policy of vocational