Covid-19 shows business can support remote working, says Hanley

Councillor says crisis proves that organisations have capacity to accommodate workers with disabilities

Social Democrats Galway City East councillor, Owen Hanley.

Social Democrats Galway City East councillor, Owen Hanley.

Many of the measures being taken by institutions and businesses to ensure work continues are measures disability advocates have been requesting for years, and such measures should be retained once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.

This is the view of Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley, who said the response to the consequences of COVID-19 highlights a "double standard for those with disabilities" compared to those without.

"People with disabilities want to be able to work, to have that independence," he said, "but for decades these accessibility requests have generally been declined by issues to do with resources and logistics. What we've seen is that rather quickly they've been widely adopted."

'Accessibility options will need to be prioritised and adopted more widely to allow people with disabilities to engage fully with work life'

While Cllr Hanley acknowledges that we are currently living through "extraordinary times", he said the crisis has also demonstrated that organisations have "always had the capacity" to introduce remote working and flexible conditions but "never gave it the prioritisation it should have gotten".

Cllr Hanley said that once the pandemic is over, companies and organisations should be expected to address how they can accommodate people with disabilities who wish to be part of the workforce.

"The excuses of the past will not suffice after this," he said. "These accessibility options will need to be prioritised and adopted more widely to allow people with disabilities to engage fully with work life."

 

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