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Ensuring Inclusion Response to COVID19 – Good Practices by Industry

a lady on a wheelchair besides a lady both working on a laptop

Year 2020, countries across the globe have been busy taking containment measures to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic. The economy has changed, lifestyles have changed and routines have changed. Companies too started revising their business response plans and devising policies as needed to ensure safety of their employees and their customers. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic puts pressure on the companies, many organizations were and continuing to ensure inclusion and support to their employees with disabilities during these pandemic times.

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and The India Business and Disability Network (IBDN) launched a compendium on ‘Ensuring Inclusion Response to COVID19 – Good Practices by Industry’. The compendium is a documentation of inclusive and supportive measures adopted by select companies for employees with disabilities and/or for the disability community in the wake of the pandemic. This Compendium by CII and IBDN captures some of the practices adopted by various organizations in India in ensuring the inclusion, safety and well-being of people with disabilities during the pandemic.

“I hope that this Compendium will throw light on ways to strengthen the inclusion agenda. Companies can adopt, replicate and scale up some of the practices mentioned in this Compendium to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.” Piruz Khambatta Chairman, CII National Committee on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 2020-21 and IBDN, and Chairman and Managing Director, Rasna Pvt Ltd.

“The Compendium is exactly the kind of initiative that will contribute to a disability-inclusive response to the pandemic.” Esteban Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist, International Labour Organisation.

Here is a small snippet of the initiatives taken by BarrierBreak to ensure safety of its employees besides ensuring business continuity.

Considering that a large number of BarrierBreak’s workforce comprises employees with disabilities, the company had decided to move to work from home even before the first lockdown. Initially, since people did not realise the impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus, employees with disabilities were hesitating to work from home. However, at the management level, the organisation had realised that the risk to health was high and had initiated work from home before the first lockdown by the government. This helped the organisation get a headstart, and the IT teams were able to go to the houses of employees to help set up work-from-home offices.

“As a company focusing on digital accessibility consulting, we are proud to say that our employees with disabilities have not been adversely affected in the lockdown. Instead, we are now confident of hiring people with disabilities across India and not limited to Mumbai only, since we have seen the positive side of technology.” Shilpi Kapoor, CEO BarrierBreak

Access to necessary technologies, internet allowances, dedicated online IT helpdesk, Weekly accessible activities, Accessible online demonstrations and training helped the employees with disabilities adapt quickly and effectively. Even in the Pandemic, the organisation hired new employees with disabilities and onboarded them successfully across India.

To know about the initiatives taken by various companies across India during this pandemic time to ensure inclusion, download the compendium.

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