Accessible Workplaces

Unlike the ADA, state law only requires that areas of commercial buildings used by customers be accessible, areas used only by employees are not covered, even in new buildings. This pushes people with disabilities who already have more than double the unemployment rate of non-disabled people. ( A new bill would require that employee areas be covered.

Time for Massachusetts to provide accessible workplaces

  • MA code does not require workspace accessibility even in new or extensively renovated buildings. he state doesn’t meet basic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
  • The ability to find meaningful and rewarding work is a civil right. Inaccessible workspaces have the effect of barring people with disabilities from employment.
  • The unemployment rate for people with disabilities in MA is twice that of non-disabled people. Over70% of working-age people in MA with ambulatory disabilities are unemployed.
  • Anyone could be born with a disability or become disabled due to an injury, disease, or the aging process. They should not be denied or barred from employment.

Creating accessible workplaces is a win for all

  • People with disabilities are over 15% of the population. They want to engage in meaningful employment, get off benefits, fully participate in and contribute to society.
  • Businesses cannot recruit or retain the best workers when their facilities are inaccessible. Removing physical barriers will expand the workforce when there is a historic shortage of qualified workers.
  • The state will receive increased tax revenues and reduce expenditures for benefits.
  • Everyone will benefit from the safety and convenience of workplace accessibility features. They will be assured that, if they or loved ones become disabled, they’ll be able to continue to work.

The Accessible MA Act will open doors to employment for people with disabilities

  • In 1968, MA led the nation’s efforts to make communities accessible for all by creating the MA Architectural Access Board(MAAB) that balances the interests of property owners and accessibility needs by establishing and enforcing building codes during permitting, which is more efficient and affordable. However, the MAAB was not given purview over workplaces.
  • The ACCESSIBLE MA Act would finally allow the MAAB to meet the promise of the ADA- enforce accessibility in new or extensively renovated workplaces, and guide developers and architects on innovative ways to provide access.