Plan to get disabled people into employment

The government wants to break down the barriers to employment for disabled New Zealanders and better support them into work, says Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni.

Consultation on the draft Disability Employment Action Plan to help disabled people and people with health conditions find and stay in work, opens today. 

“This government wants every New Zealander who is able to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering, Carmel Sepuloni said.

“For many disabled people and people with health conditions, this means having the opportunity to participate in an inclusive labour market and improve their wellbeing, prosperity and dignity through work. 

“Seventy four percent of working age disabled people who are not in paid employment, would like to work if a job was available but sometimes don’t get a fair go to show their skills and commitment in a job.

“Employers are also missing out on the skills and contributions of a more diverse workforce, potentially due to a lack of understanding.

“The Plan will help employers gain the knowledge and connections they need to benefit from recruiting, retaining and working with disabled people,” Carmel Sepuloni said. 

Drawing on previous consultation and evidence, the draft action plan proposes a set of actions to tackle the employment gap based around two overarching goals:

  1. Disabled people and people with health conditions have an equal opportunity to access good work
  2. Employers are good at attracting and retaining disabled people and people with health conditions.

The consultation is an opportunity for employers, sector organisations, disabled people and people with health conditions to have their say.

Consultation opens today and closes on 21 February 2020.

More information about how to provide feedback on the draft action plan can be found at this link http://www.msd.govt.nz/disability-employment

Note to editors:

  • The Government’s Employment Strategy was released in August 2019. The strategy will be supported by six action plans focussed on groups that are disadvantaged in the labour market. The Youth Employment Action Plan has already been released, and action plans for Māori, Pacific people, older workers, and refugees, recent migrants and ethnic communities will be progressively released.
  • Earlier consultation that informed the draft action plan includes public and targeted consultation by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group and by the Government in preparation for the 2019 – 2023 Disability Strategy Action Plan.
  • In June 2019:
    • The New Zealand employment rate was 23.4% for disabled people, compared to 69.9% for non-disabled people. 
    • 35.2% of disabled workers were working part-time and wanting, and available, to work more hours compared to 17.8% of non-disabled people.
    • 34.9% of young disabled people were not in education, employment or training, compared to 9% of non-disabled young people.
  • 74% of working age disabled people who are not in paid employment, would like to work if a job was available.

Following the consultation on the draft action plan, the plan will be revised and a final version released in early-mid 2020