Not everyone is born equal. We all have unique characteristics that set us apart from the rest. But at times, this individuality may not always be a good thing as it comes in the form of a disability that differentiates you from what is normal. Society may not always be so accepting but a lot has changed over the years and those with disabilities are leading better lives now. They don’t always have to be considered as social outcasts because they can actually function as normal human beings and some can even hold a job.
It takes a great deal of strength and courage to overcome one’s own physical limitations. It’s not always other people that deter you but your own belief in your self (and doubts as well) that you can live a normal life even if you are physically-handicapped. Of course, you did not wish to be born with a body not up to par with the world’s standard but it is a burden you’ll bear throughout your lifetime. Fortunately, that burden has become lighter as the world gradually becomes more disability-friendly. Some who do manage to find a real-paying work actually receive a much lower salary than regular workers but they do get paid for rendering their services.
There are many Americans across the country who are dedicated contributors to the workforce despite having a disabilities. Unfortunately, under current law, these hard-working men and women can be paid less than the lowest legal wage because of their disabilities. This policy is based on a Depression-era mentality embodying low expectations for people with disabilities; however, I know from personal experience that if given the chance to contribute, many Americans with disabilities want to and will help to provide for themselves.
That is why I am proud to have introduced the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act earlier this year. This bill would eliminate an antiquated provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows the Department of Labor to issue special certificates to employers so they can pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. When this program was created in 1938, it was an exercise in charity. Today it is paternalistic and costly while failing in its goal of improving economic freedom and employment for Americans with disabilities.
Most of those people with disabilities end up working in sheltered workshops where they don’t have to interact with people and do menial jobs that won’t stress them at all. Others look down on this practice but for some, it is actually better than nothing. After all, not all companies are accepting of workers with disabilities, so any effort to give them a fighting chance in life is accepted.
One in five people of working age in Scotland are disabled, and improving unemployment statistics can also be achieved by promoting the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce.
“It’s also about businesses understanding the benefits of employing people with disabilities,” said Jamie.
“It’s hard to recruit people, and disabled people are a very skilled part of the workforce – there are a lot of marginalised people in our workforces that businesses don’t necessarily consider.
“But the main reason is simply that disabled people are able to do the job just as well as anyone else.”
He added: “It’s natural to worry about social awkwardness, but actually most disabled people won’t mind if you just ask when you’re not sure – they are people too.”
Only a small percentage of the world’s population actually have disabilities, which is perhaps also the reason why they have a hard time looking for a job because our society is used to dealing with normal people that hiring someone who has limitations makes working with them not only challenging but also quite awkward too. But as awareness is being raised on the issue, concerned citizens are hopeful that things will change for the better and handicapped individuals will have higher chances of landing the job without being discriminated because they aren’t what is accepted as normal. It’s a good thing that those with disabilities themselves are rising to the occasion and proving their worth to the world and show everyone just what they’re made of – that they can do what everybody else does, if not even better that what the other person is thinking.