Benefits flow in both directions

HIRING disabled workers has paid off for some businesses.

There are government subsidies available to help disabled people gain work and surveys have shown a number of benefits to the businesses.

Prime Laundry and Drycleaning owner Bob Rubé said the subsidies did help, but that securing them was not his motivation.

“I believe in equal opportunity,” he said. “I get some personal pleasure out of it.”

Mr Rubé said he had used a number of disabled workers in his business and had two working there at the moment.

“I have one person here who is totally deaf and another who had been in an accident and hadn’t worked for some time,” he said. “It takes a bit more time but once they’re up and running they’re as good, if not better, than our regular staff.

“The last disabled person that I hired has become one of my best employees. She started off doing three days a week, went to four and now she’s doing five.”

Elite Furnishings owner Fred Weinbrecht said he had employed several disabled workers over the years and had two working for him full-time currently.

“We get a subsidy from the Government,” he said.

“In the beginning it is cheap labour and it gives me six months to see if they will work out.”

Mr Weinbrecht employed Jason Taylor, a person who suffers from Tourette syndrome.

Mr Taylor is now doing a cabinet making apprenticeship through Elite.

JR Colonial’s John Vilches said the wage subsidies on offer had played a part in his decision to hire a disabled worker.

“As a small provider it helps me out,” he said. “I’ve pretty much taught him everything he knows.

“It takes a while. You have to be patient and show a bit of faith but at the end of the day he’s rewarded me and certainly pays his way.”

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