In May 2020, the ILO Global Business and Disability Network conducted two surveys – one for National Business and Disability Networks (NBDN) and one for those networks’ company members – to identify good practices and gaps in responding to the COVID-19 crisis in a disability-inclusive way. In total, 159 companies from 22 countries (representing four regions) participated in the company survey, and 19 national networks participated in the NBDN survey.
Key findings include:
- The survey asked companies to identify which practices they had implemented to protect their employees with disability during the COVID-19 crisis. The three most-selected practices were to provide: telework; flexible working hours; and paid leave. Responding companies also mentioned additional practices, including providing reasonable adjustments and facilities to people with disability to work from home, contacting their employees periodically to find out about their welfare, and generating accessible material on COVID-19 through online training.
- “Nothing about us without us”, continues to be highly relevant during the COVID-19 crisis. Consulting with organisations of people with disability is essential for companies to promote a truly-inclusive response. Of all companies surveyed in the sample, 47% reported that they had consulted, or were planning to consult, organisations of people with disability on their COVID-19 response.
- Companies’ expressed needs to strengthen disability inclusion in their responses to COVID-19. Raising awareness about disability, and capacity to provide workplace adjustments, stood out as the most pressing needs identified to ensure a disability-inclusive response. Companies also identified government support as an important need for their COVID-19 responses. Overall, 51 responding companies had requested, or were planning to request, support (including funds) from governments. Out of these 51 companies, 69% were planning to use this support to safeguard the employment of people with disability.