HomePublicationsCountry Reports

Country Reports

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.

Please click here to read the full report on Finland. 


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.

Please click here to read the full report on France.

The Netherlands

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.

Please click here to read the full report on the Netherlands.


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.

Please click here to read the full report on Spain.

News and Events

Call for minimum share for the European Social Fund

Keep the 25% minumum share for the ESF budget in the overall cohesion budget

Social Services Europe called on Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs and Members of the European Parliament to keep the minimum share of 25% for the European Social Fund  in the overall cohesion budget. The organisation submitted a letter stating that the ESF contitutes an important tool to ensure people are equipped to enter and stay in the labour market, develop human capacities through education, training and lifelong learning opportunities and address social exclusion and poverty. 

The European Commission ring-fenced 25% of the overal cohesion budget for the European Social Fund, irrespective of the region. The Council of Ministers only refer to an "adequate share" of ESF money that should be spend on human capital development. 

This marks a significant shift from the original proposal and jeopardises the original objectives of the European Social Fund.  

Workability Europe's Board Members

Marjatta Varanka, Managing Director of VATES in Finland, was elected as President of Workability Europe on 29 January 2013 at an extraordinary General Assembly in Brussels. Also elected were Leif Alm, Samhall and Nigel Hopkins, Remploy. Board members hold the following positions: 

  • Marjatta Varanka, VATES - President
  • Rafael González Millán, FUNDOSA - Vice President
  • Nigel Hopkins, FEGAPEI - Treasurer
  • Lisette Bosch, CEDRIS - Ordinary Member
  • Stef De Cock, VLAB - Ordinary Member
  • Thierry Lècques, GESAT - Ordinary Member


Latest publications

Workability Europe Brochure

The brochure about Workability Europe, published in September 2012, gives a brief overview of the organisation and its activities. It summarises who we are and what we do, and also describes our portfolio of services to members. 

Download accessible PDF of Workability Europe Brochure

Annual Reviews

Annual Review 2010-2011

After a year of global economic turmoil, which saw a general reduction in government spending on social affairs throughout Europe, Workability Europe managed to increase its operations.

Campaign: EY 2014 Reconciling Work and Family Life

Banner EY 2014

Family comes first, for anybody you may ask in the street. However, due to work commitments and constraints of working hours, it is not always easy to take time off work to take a disabled child to a medical appointment, to visit ageing relatives in care homes during the day, or to puck up your children from school.

Workability Europe, as part of the European Year 2014 Alliance, is trying to highlight these exact issues at European level and bring attention to the fact that creating and promoting policies that enable reconciliation of work and family life would be a win-win situation - both for individual EU citizens, as well as for the European Union as a whole. Investing in measures that enable better work-life balance has a direct positive impact on job creation, well-being, prevention of poverty and social exclusion.

Marian Harkin MEP initiated a Written Declaration asking for the designation of 2014 as the European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life with the support of the European Year 2014 Alliance. Read more about the campaign and lobby your national MEP to sign the Written Declaration!