In this Issue: Mental Health Month, Workplace Safety and Health During COVID-19 Recovery and More
EARN IN ACTION
DMEC Article on Workplace Mental Health
As part of its focus on Mental Health Month, the May 2021 issue of the Disability Management Employer Coalition’s (DMEC) @Work magazine includes an article highlighting EARN’s “4 A’s” framework for a mental health-friendly workplace. This framework, a key part of EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit, synthesizes leading workplace mental health practices into four key areas: build “awareness” and a supportive culture, provide “accommodations” to employees, offer employee “assistance” and ensure “access” to treatment. The article also explores how each of these components help employers support the mental health of all employees using examples from leading companies. Read the article or visit the Mental Health Toolkit.
Webinar on Workplace Safety and Health During COVID-19 Recovery
Last month, EARN, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy, hosted a webinar titled Getting Ahead of the Curve: Ensuring Safe, Healthy and Inclusive Workplaces During the COVID-19 Recovery. This webinar featured speakers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The discussion focused on strategies employers can use to ensure safe, healthy and inclusive workplaces for all workers, including those with disabilities, during COVID-19 recovery. The webinar is now archived to view at any time. Watch the webinar.
Best Practices for Online Outreach and Recruitment
The Spring/Summer 2021 issue of DIVERSEability magazine includes an article sourced from EARN’s new “research-to-practice” tool, titled Online Recruitment of and Outreach to People with Disabilities. This tool summarizes strategies that can increase a company’s likelihood of attracting candidates with disabilities. Distilled from a recent review of literature on the topic conducted by EARN, these practices fall into four main categories—online messaging, outreach and recruitment, application processes and accessibility, and establishing partnerships to broaden talent pools. Read the DIVERSEability article.
Mentoring as a Disability Inclusion Strategy
Last month, EARN was pleased to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Disability Mentoring Coalition to present a webinar on mentoring as a strategy for increasing disability inclusion. The webinar was sponsored by Getting Hired, which helps match qualified people with disabilities with inclusive employers. Among the resources shared during the webinar was EARN’s Workplace Mentoring Playbook, which provides key information for employers on the benefits of disability-inclusive mentoring initiatives. Access the Mentoring Playbook or EARN’s mentoring webpage.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
NDEAM Theme Announced
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that the theme for this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities and educates employers and others about the importance of disability-inclusive employment policies and practices. Employers of all sizes and all industries are encouraged to participate. Read the press release or learn more about NDEAM.
Driving Change Through Employer Engagement
In a recent blog post, Alicia Wallace, a human resources consultant with Eli Lilly and Company, reflected on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Wallace notes how ODEP helped “advance the human resources and affirmative action fields by helping us understand disability as a critical part of workplace diversity and inclusion and how to deliver on it.” This includes partnering with the National Industry Liaison Group to share best practices for meeting federal contractors’ responsibilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Read the DOL blog post.
RETAIN Phase 2 Grants Announced
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the awarding of grants totaling more than $103 million to agencies in five states—Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Vermont—to continue and expand pilot projects focused on helping newly injured and ill workers remain in the workforce. The grants represent Phase 2 of the Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) initiative, managed by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with its Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration. Read the RETAIN Phase 2 news release.
COVID-19 Vaccination and the ADA
As more and more workplaces resume regular operations in the wake of COVID-19, employers may have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To help, the Job Accommodation Network developed frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the topic. These FAQs include what employers can and cannot ask employees about their vaccination status, if they can mandate that employees get vaccinated and how vaccinations impact telework as a reasonable accommodation. Read the COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs.
Q: We know that May is Mental Health Month. We want to use the occasion to express our support to employees during this stressful time, but we don’t have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Does EARN have resources to help?
A: Yes! Mental Health Month is an opportunity to broach this topic with employees, and doing so is a great way to achieve the first of our “4 A’s of a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace”—awareness. Businesses can take many actions to build awareness and a supportive workplace culture, regardless of company size or whether they have a formal EAP.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
May 20, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET
Webcast: Accessibility and Accommodations: How Employers and HR Professionals Can Prepare for Emerging Tech in the Workplace
This webcast, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network and Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology, will explore the potential impact of emerging technologies on accommodations for workers with disabilities. Learn how employers and human resources professionals can help prepare for an accessible workplace of the future. Register for the webcast.
May 21, 2021
Deadline: COVID-19 Workforce Recovery: State and Local Disability-Inclusive Policies and Practices National Online Dialogue
This national online dialogue is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s State Exchange on Employment and Disability. It invites the public to share ideas to ensure COVID-19 policies, programs and activities are inclusive of and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities and align with disability non-discrimination laws and regulations. Learn more about the dialogue.
Mental Health Month: Merck
Research conducted by Merck among its workforce reinforced a need to prioritize employee mental health. In response, the multinational pharmaceutical company implemented a range of initiatives to address mental health in the workplace and replace silence and stigma with acceptance and compassion. Examples include awareness building activities for employees and supervisors, Mental Health First Aid training and volunteer ambassadors called “Mind Well Champions.”
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Disability and Employment. For more information, visit AskEARN.org.
Preparation of this item was fully funded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy in the amount of $8,000,000 (four-year total grant amount) under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-33975-19-75-4-36. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.