At The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, New York), Asssemblyman Angelo Santabarbara writes that many autistic people face difficulty with employment.
To help alleviate this barrier, we need more than a culture of awareness. We need acceptance and incentives to get us there. The New York State Assembly recently passed a bill establishing a tax credit ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for small businesses that employ people with disabilities (A.3960 of 2021).
This credit would be available for companies with fewer than 100 employees that employ a disabled person for at least six months for a minimum of 35 hours a week.
To further combat discriminatory employment practices, I have introduced a bill that would seek to award 5% of state contracts to businesses where 15% of the employees are individuals with disabilities (A.2593).
The bill would involve creating a statewide study to determine whether there is a disparity between the number of qualified businesses able to perform state contracts and the numbers actually engaged, and determine any changes needed.
Another bill passed would ensure the rights of state employees to sue New York state for damages due to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (A.7121).
This will not only give further agency to adults with disabilities, but will also deter employers from using discriminatory hiring and workplace practices.
In addition, this the legislative package included a measure aimed at promoting overall accessibility in the day-to-day lives of individuals with disabilities such as reestablishing the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities to help those with disabilities receive services and support in order to enable them to make informed choices and decisions (A.3130).