When Do Employers Provide Accommodations to Employees with Health Problems? Qualitative Evidence from Arkansas

Publisher: New York, NY: The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
Apr 05, 2018
Authors
Katie Morrison, Rayna Thornton, Alix Gould-Werth, and Yonatan Ben-Shalom

Key Findings:

  • Employers need appropriate resources and effective communication strategies to accommodate workers.
  • Policy interventions designed to bolster employers’ resources (like the ARS SAW/RTW program) and advance the flow of information (such as programs that provide case management services for workers with health problems) should help employers who need assistance in these areas, assuming the employers know about them.
  • Employees’ own characteristics also play a pivotal role in whether employers make real efforts to accommodate and retain workers. Even when community- and organization-level factors are the same, employers take different actions for different employees, depending on the employee’s tenure, work performance, role, and health problem.
This brief summarizes the findings from interviews with human resources professionals at 14 organizations in Arkansas to understand the most important factors influencing employers’ efforts to support and accommodate workers with health problems. The interviews covered the availability of resources, the ease (or difficulty) of communication between the affected worker and other stakeholders, and the characteristics of the worker.