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10 March 2004

Employing the intellectually disabled is a plus

Persons with disability have the highest unemployment rates and constitute the largest percentage of people living in poverty of any group in society.

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Persons with disability have the highest unemployment rates and constitute the largest percentage of people living in poverty of any group in society.

The reluctance of employers to employ people with intellectual disability stems partly from discrimination and ignorance.

The South African Federation for Mental Health lists the following advantages of employing the intellectual disadvantaged:

  • By working, the person gains respect, confidence and economic independence
  • Earning a salary increases the standard of living of persons with intellectual disability
  • The employer can gain from having a lower employer mobility rate and a more stable work force. A person with intellectual disability usually has a high frustration tolerance and enjoys doing work of a repetitive nature – the kind of work that often frustrates other workers.
  • Fewer people are dependent on disability benefits as their primary source of income drops. The Government therefore saves on the costs of grants as well as administration.
  • Employers can benefit from financial incentives. The Department of Labour offers a wage subsidy for the employment of persons with disability. Persons with intellectual disability seldom require assistive devices and special architectural considerations.
  • Work performed by all workers adds to the gross national product. The employment of persons with mental disability in the open labour market adds to the national economic growth. Income spent contributes towards the economy of the country.
  • - Ilse Pauw, health24 reporter

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