Securing career paths towards inclusion in the open labour ... Securing career paths towards inclusion

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  • Securing career paths towards inclusion in the

    open labour market





    Couverture Anglais 30-10_indica 30/10/2015 08:09 Page1

  • Securing career paths towards inclusion in the open labour market 1

    Introduction he European Union has signed and ratified the Uni- ted Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) since 23 December

    2010. The majority of its Member States are also signa- tories but have different views on how to transpose the CRPD’s principles into national legal and policy frame- works, especially the transposition of Article 27 (the right to work and employment). National policies are developed according to the cultural, political and legal traditions of each Member State. They may take the form of an anti-discrimination law (United Kingdom), in- clusion without legal obligation (in northern Europe) or a quota system1 (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain).

    According to the narrower definition of “Disability” from Eurostat “Persons having a basic activity difficulty, such as sight, hearing, walking, communicating”2, the em- ployment rate in the UE-28 in 2011 was 47.3%; almost 20 percentage points less than persons without such dif- ficulties. At country level, the highest gaps in the em- ployment rates were observed in the Netherlands (43% and 80% respectively) and Hungary (24% and 61%), with differences of more than 37 percentage points between the groups, which contrasts sharply with the situation in Luxembourg, where the smallest variation was obser- ved (2 percentage points).

    In addition to the above mentioned definition of disa- bility, a second one “persons limited in work because of a long-standing health problem and/or a basic activity difficulty – LHPAD” should be considered. The employ- ment rate recorded at EU-28 level for this category is lower (38.1%), nearly 30 percentage points less than persons who did not declare a limitation at work.

    A fairly similar picture is observed in all countries as all of them present a gap between persons with limitations at work and those without limitations. Nevertheless, this gap is different from one country to another as it

    goes from over 40 percentage points (United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, the Netherlands, Hungary and Bulga- ria) to 8 percentage points (France). Looking beyond the borders of the European Union, and irrespective of the definition considered the highest employment rates were reported for Switzerland and Iceland.

    In addition to the UN CRPD, Member States have also committed to European legal and political frameworks such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Euro- pean Union (2000) and the European Disability Strategy (2010-2020). They all aim to create a more inclusive Eu- rope without discrimination.

    Eventhough Member States have full responsibility; the EU action is also needed to complement national ef- forts. The European Disability Strategy (2010-2020) ad- dresses strategic goals such as: 1 - Accessibility: to guarantee that persons with disa-

    bilities have access to goods and services, as well as support services

    2 - Participation: to ensure a full, complete and fair participation in society for persons with disabilities, by providing high-quality services in the community, including access to individualised support. To create adequate conditions so that persons with disabili- ties can fully exercise their citizenship.

    3 - Equality: to eliminate all kind of discrimination based on disability in the EU and all Member States.

    4 - Employment: to implement measures and actions authorising free access to the open labour market, as well as the possibility of maintaining employ- ment.

    5 - Education and training: to promote inclusive edu- cation and lifelong learning programmes accessible for persons with disabilities.

    6 - Social protection: to promote decent living condi- tions, combat poverty and social exclusion.

    7 - Health: to promote equal access to health services and related facilities.

    8 - External actions: to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in all EU enlargement and interna- tional development programmes.

    The European Disability Strategy also establishes the three main lines of action: 1 - Awareness: to raise awareness among society on

    matters related to disability. Ensuring that persons with disabilities have a better understanding of their rights and are able to exercise them.

    2 - Financial support: to optimise the use of EU funding instruments in favour of accessibility and non-dis- crimination. To make funding available for mea- sures and programmes striving for a better unders- tanding disability issues.

    The employment of Persons with disabilities in Europe: The challenges


    1 A quota system: “[…] Quota legislation requires private and/or pu- blic sector employers, to employ a certain minimum number of wor- kers to ensure that a given proportion of employees consist of des- ignating persons with disabilities […]”. Patricia Thornton. Employment quotas, Levies and national rehabilitation funds for persons with disa- bilities: pointers for policy and practice. Report from Gladnet to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). P. 5 (1998). 2 lity_statistics_-_labour_market_access

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  • 3 - Collection of statistics (monitoring and assessment data): to develop comprehensive statistics on disa- bility collected with a view to monitoring the deve- lopment of the situation of persons with disabilities.

    In 2013, the unemployment rate for persons under the age of 25 raised exponentially in many European coun- tries reaching an average of 23.9% in the Euro zone. The unemployment crisis is particulary evident for persons with disabilities as they are twice as likely to be unem- ployed. If we take into consideration the situation of a young person with disability, who cumulates the two factors of exclusion, he/she is more likely to be excluded from education, training and, consequently, employ- ment. Therefore, to tackle this situation for persons aged between 16 and 35 should become a priority.

    To address this crisis, initiatives have been introduced by organisations at both, local and national level. These organisations have taken up the challenge of getting in- volved in innovative programmes to promote and sup- port the employment of young persons with disabilities. Partners of DESC (Disabilities Equality Security Careers), an EU-funded project, noticed that all of these initiatives shared a common concern: to secure the career path of young persons and support them towards a long term inclusion in the open labour market.

    What does “securing a career path” mean in a European context and for partners of the project? In 2007, Europe developed the “flexicurity concept” to encourage Mem- ber States to put in place active employment policies, lifelong apprenticeship strategies and modern systems for social protection, providing adequate support in pe- riods of unemployment. If we approach the concept from the person’s perspective, all these elements are essential to secure career paths (training, subsidies, availability of support services, etc…)

    Securing the career paths of young persons with disabi- lities implies supporting them in transitions between different stages of their lives, being the access to work the biggest challenges. To have a successful inclusion for young persons with disabilities, the following steps are needed: • acceptance of the disability by the young person, • assessment of the constraints related to the disability

    by professionals, • development of a tailored-made, personalised pro-


    • achievement of the project through Vocational Edu- cation and Training, also provided in the working place.

    • seeking for employment • and integrating a company which provides adequate

    working conditions to ensure a career.

    There are four essential elements for this: 1 - technical and human means (reasonable accommo-

    dation in the working place), 2 - wider access to information for professionals and

    young persons 3 - to facilitate and improve the coordination of the dif-

    ferent stakeholders around the person. 4 - Awareness raising and community-based actions

    All the above mentioned steps and elements can only make sense if they go along with the empowerment of the person, thus enabling the enjoyment of all human rights. A global “holistic” approach is therefore a must.

    In Europe, the concept of supported employment emer- ged in the 80s. Later on, in 1993 the European Union for Supported Employment (EUSE) was established to pro- mote this method and acting as a platform for the ex- change of best practices throughout Europe.

    According to the definition provided by EUSE, supported employment aims “to provide support to persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups to help them to find and maintain paid employment on the open labour market”. This definition relies on Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Di- sabilities and EU texts, which clearly express, in different Articles, that the inclusion of persons with disabilities in employment should take place in an open, inclusive and accessible labour market and that in o