In 2011, Workability Europe worked on gathering information for employers and employees with disabilities encompassing general information on people with disabilities in each country, the legal framework for employment of persons with disabilities and the various measures implemented by governments to support employment for people who experience barriers to inclusion in the mainstream labour market.
The following country reports are available:
Finland has very little legislation in place to support employment of people with disabilities, neither for employers nor for employees. Particularly older people with a disability retire early and live from a disability pension until they receive they regular pension. Incentives to continue working, even part-time, are low. At present, around 16,000 people work in sheltered or supported employment.
Recently, a lot is being done to improve legislation on behalf of people with disabilities and to encourage employment in the open and the supported labour market: a programme is underway to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In France, approximately 5% of the working age population are considered disabled. In 2005, the government introduced a new law: the act on equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of disabled people. This act is to enhance the transfer of people with disabilities from sheltered to mainstream employment.
France has a quota system, which obliges employers to hire disabled people for at least 6% of their workforce. Since 2005, many of the former organisations that serviced people with disabilities have been merged to simplify procedures and to focus more on inclusion in the mainstream labour market. The current system is permeable and allows for easy transition between sheltered – now called adapted enterprises – and mainstream employment. Particularly financial incentives have been created for adapted enterprises to reward them for transferring people with disabilities to the open market.
The Netherlands ranges among the countries with the highest number of people receiving disability benefits (8.2% of the population). Around 100,000 people work in the 92 supported employment facilities in the country. The government is aiming for greater inclusion of these employees into the open labour market.
The Dutch legislation divided people with disabilities into two groups: those that are fully incapacitated and those that are partially incapacitated to work. The legislation aims at encouraging people, who are partially incapacitated, to use their remaining potential to seek employment by implementing a monetary reward system. A distinct law is in place to regulate labour in sheltered employment, which also seeks to support people with moderate and severe disabilities in their transition to the open labour market.
Subsidies are given to employers, who hire people with disabilities for at least six months. Several plans are underway to encourage employers to engage, particularly young, people with disabilities in their enterprises. In future, the employer will pay only for the actual productivity of the disabled employee. The aim is to reduce the number of people working in supported employment to 30,000 during the next 30 years.
Although a quota system is in place, Spain has a high unemployment rate of people with disabilities compared to other nations in the European Union. This is also due to the high number of older people legally recognised as having a disability. Most people with disabilities find employment Special Employment Centres.
Incentives for employers are in place to encourage them to employ people with disabilities. In addition, people with disabilities may receive support for entrepreneurship and transition to the mainstream market.
The economic crisis has strained the financing of measures of social inclusion of people with disabilities and the Spanish government has put in place an emergency fund to counteract this.