Financial incentives to promote employment of persons with disabilities: a scoping review of when and how they work best Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    To assess the state of evidence on the use of financial incentives to employ, retain, and promote persons with disabilities.

    Materials and methods

    We completed a scoping review of the peer-reviewed literature published from 1990 to 31 March 2022. Inclusion criteria were - populations with a disability; employment, retention, or promotion; and use of financial incentives targeted at employers. Articles were excluded if incentive was targeted solely at persons with disabilities.


    Seventeen articles met the inclusion criterion and were collated based on their study designs, type of incentive investigated, employment sector, and jurisdiction. We identified seven common themes that are relevant contextual and situational factors associated with the use of financial incentives to employ, retain, and promote persons with disabilities.


    While the literature identified the fact that financial incentives are widely used, the current state of the literature is modest and insufficient to make strong statements about the evidence on how and when financial incentives work well or do not work well. The themes identified allude to a subset of contextual factors requiring consideration for incentive use; however, evaluative research is still required to substantiate best practices for their use.Implications for rehabilitationFinancial incentives for the recruitment, retention, and promotion of workers with disabilities take many different forms and can incent different behaviours based on their form and context.Workers with disabilities are as diverse as workers without disabilities, consequently the supports required will differ from situation to situation.In some cases, a worker with a disability may require several types of supports, at a point in time, or over their employment journey.Employer knowledge and experience are important considerations in the use of financial incentives, as are employer skills in recruitment, retention, and promotion of workers with disabilities.

publication date

  • October 18, 2022