Study Illustrates Cost, Impact of Workplace Accommodations

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As the labor market remains strong, employers looking to retain valued employees are renewing efforts to provide workplace accommodations. A recent study from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers good news – a majority of workplace accommodations cost less than $500 to implement, with nearly half having no cost at all.

From January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2022, JAN surveyed more than 3,500 employers that reached out for information on accommodations. Of those who provided cost information, nearly half (49.4%) reported the accommodation implemented for their employee cost absolutely nothing. Another 43.3% of the surveyed employers reported accommodations involved only a one-time cost, and 7.2% of employers reported accommodations made resulted in ongoing costs. The median expenditure reported by employers for one-time costs was $300, while the median for employers reporting an annual accommodation cost was $3,750.

Employers surveyed reported numerous benefits of making accommodations, including:

  • Retaining valuable employees
  • Improving company diversity
  • Improving productivity and morale
  • Improving interactions among co-workers
  • Improving interactions with customers
  • Reducing workers’ compensation and training costs
  • Eliminating costs associated with training a new employee

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that covered employers provide reasonable accommodations requested by job applicants and employees with disabilities unless doing so causes the employer undue hardship. The JAN report illustrates that implementing accommodations for employees with disabilities is a low cost, high-impact strategy employers can use to support and retain valued talent and improve workplace diversity in today’s tight labor market.

The Job Accommodation Network is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.