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Retaining Employees with Disabilities (Becoming a Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities)

By becoming a model employer, agencies will improve their retention of people with disabilities. Currently, people with disabilities/targeted disabilities leave the Federal Government at three times the rate of those without a disability. Retention is essential to making the investment you are making to identify and hire qualified people with disabilities pay off. Agencies should use the strategies and actions listed in this section to create an accessible, positive, and welcoming environment for job applicants and employees with disabilities:

  • Strive to make every aspect of the agency employment experience accessible to people with disabilities. This includes facilities, programs, technology, websites, and the benefits and privileges of employment. Set targets and measure progress in meeting them.
  • Ensure employees with disabilities are provided training opportunities at the beginning and throughout their careers. Agencies must provide reasonable accommodations in a timely manner to ensure all training programs are accessible.
  • Use and publicize workplace flexibility strategies such as telework, flexiplace, and flextime, including the availability of these flexibilities for people requiring reasonable accommodations, to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • Agency leadership should encourage and participate in agency-wide events that publicize successful efforts to recruit and hire people with disabilities/targeted disabilities. Leaders should also promote the formation of an employee affinity group for employees with disabilities. Regular meetings with this group will provide leadership with the information they need to address issues impacting this community in the workplace. Both actions will demonstrate the agency's commitment to become a model employer of people with disabilities.
  • Conduct exit interviews of any person with a disability leaving Federal employment to collect information and develop data necessary to determine and eliminate barriers to retention
  • As a means of helping injured and ill employees return to work, engage in an interactive process to determine the availability and appropriateness of reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations could include but are not limited to telework, temporary light duty assignments, and job reassignment.
  • Conduct appropriate succession planning that includes a strategy to recruit and retain people with disabilities for positions and career paths in which they are interested. Where staff input is sought, provide entry- and mid-level employees with disabilities an opportunity to be included when planning for the agency's future management and leadership.
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