Many companies in the country are implementing corporate fitness programs to maintain the wellbeing of their employees. What most of these companies fail to check, however, is whether there is room for their employees with disabilities in their health and wellness programs or if there is adequate access in their corporate gyms for the disabled.
Corporate Fitness for Employees with Disabilities: It Can Be Achieved
Employees with disabilities are part of the company and therefore should be treated and given with equal opportunities like what the rest of the members of the company enjoy. This should include the right to access and enjoy health clubs and other corporate fitness facilities.
The Anti-Discrimination Act
The Australian government adheres to anti-discrimination for people with disabilities through the Disability Discrimination Act. This act includes provisions for giving people with disabilities to properly access important establishments, such as health clubs or gyms.
For companies that are starting to build their establishments, they have to keep in mind that if they are going to offer corporate gyms for their employees they need to consider the following issues that will give full benefits to their future employees with disabilities:
- The gym must not be located in a higher floor so that it can be easier to access for people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
- Gyms or corporate health centres must have wide doors to provide full access to people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
- Ramps and other appropriate access entry points must be provided in gyms.
- Gym equipment must be spaced adequately from each other to provide enough room so that people in wheelchairs or other mobility aids are able to fully manoeuvre around and use the gym items properly and with ease.
- There should be a toilet or changing room that is dedicated for people with disabilities.
- A personal coach or trainer must be provided for people who have difficulty moving around, such as blind employees.
Equal Opportunity for Health Benefits
Companies should also provide equal opportunities to employees with disabilities with regard to health and wellness programs like health check-ups, medications, insurance, and many others. Employees with disabilities should not be shut out during annual physical and medical check-ups and the company must provide medical professionals who are experts on the specific disabilities of the employees.
Employees with disabilities must also be given equal opportunity in terms of health care incentives in order for corporate health programs to become all inclusive. Companies must be mindful of employees with disabilities and how they are initially at a more disadvantage than their other co-employees. Incentives on health insurance should give favourable chances for people with disabilities, such as rewarding them if they meet the health criteria and they should not fear the prospect of being penalised once they don’t meet the health standards.
Keeping Employee Health Information Private and Secure
Persons with disabilities must be able to fully trust the companies in keeping their personal health records as secure and safe as possible. This needs to be one of the primary objectives of a corporate fitness plan. There are employees with chronic illnesses so the last thing they need is for their health information to get leaked and be used against them.
Companies must create a sign-up sheet that will detail the disclosure agreement to its employees. These sheets must go into specific details on the types of data that will be collected and who will be allowed to access it. On top of this, companies should also appoint someone to ensure that the employee information remains private and bars any party from trying to forcibly access the information without proper authorisation.
Employee Awareness on Equal Opportunity for the Disabled
In addition to their physical handicaps, employees with disabilities may also suffer from emotional pain in the companies that they are working for. Their disabilities may become the centre of mockery among other employees which if not put to a stop could lead to grave results, such as suicide by the aggrieved party (the person with disability).
In situations like these, companies must therefore provide and implement internal laws that will prohibit its employees from causing physical or emotional harm to employees with disabilities. They must be vigilant in spreading equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of their physical capacity.All assistance that is needed must be provided for by the facilities and personnel of the company.
Continued Assistance for Healing or Recovery
Employees with disabilities should not be treated as a disease in the organisation but as someone who can still perform his or her tasks and whatever the company can do to assist in this situation should be given a priority. This must include helping the employee cope with the disability, by offering scheduled therapies, or even offer permanent treatment from the disability.
Companies may not be lawfully required to provide treatment or therapy to their employees with disabilities. This now falls under corporate social responsibility and how it gives back to the people that run the company. People with a disadvantage due to a disability but still try their best to earn a living by going to work are the people that truly deserve a new chance at having a normal body again.
If a person can perform his or her task well despite his disability, then you should expect a more productive person if he or she gets cured from that disability. If the disability is rendered incurable, then the company may opt to provide services that will alleviate the pain of being disabled, including therapies.
It all boils down to the fact that companies must implement corporate fitness programs that are extensive enough to include their employees with disabilities. And it wouldn’t hurt if the company can go an extra mile to help these disadvantaged workers deal with their conditions.