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Labor Department seeks to create flexible workplace for disabled

Many people in New York know firsthand the challenges that come with living with a disability. Some disabilities leave people unable to work and often dependant on Social Security disability benefits. Others may be able to work, but not without obstacles. Fortunately, the government is hoping to help change that.

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Labor has designed a tool that it hopes will help make workplaces more flexible for employees who have more "complex employment situations," including those with disabilities.

The department says it hopes the tool will benefit both employees and employers by creating a more productive way of looking at the workplace, including when, where and how employees work. The assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy said that a more flexible work environment can keep employees satisfied and engaged in their jobs while maintaining high retention rates, which benefits employers. She says it will open doors for people who may have thought work was no longer possible, including those with disabilities and elderly workers.

During this month that promotes awareness of disability in the workplace, hopefully employers, policymakers and others will consider using this new tool offered by the government. Creating a flexible work environment that allows workers to have some leeway with their schedules or perhaps work from home may have a positive effect for both employee and employer. Not only that, but it can create a new, forward-thinking work environment in which some people who may have thought working was no longer possible can fit right in.

Source: Examiner.com, "U.S. Dept. of Labor launches virtual workplace flexibility toolkit," Lori Wilk, Oct. 11, 2012

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