What are the International Programs to Help a Disabled Person Find a Decent Job?
The rate of unemployment for people with disabilities particularly women are at a higher rate comparing to the unemployment of non-disabled persons. Studies show that disabled persons are experiencing a crucial situation with a high number of economic inactivity and are at greater risk of insufficient social protection that is believed to be the key to reducing extreme poverty. People with disabilities comprise an estimated one billion or 15% of the world’s population and 80% of this are at a working age, hence the need for programs to help a disabled person find a decent job despite his/her condition is one of the main concerns that are being addressed and developed by International Alliances and Institutions that advocates for the rights and privileges of people with disability.
The International Labour Organization has developed a Disability Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan 2014-17 that encloses the different programs for the benefit of disabled persons to exercise their rights to acquire educations, trainings, and supports that will equip them in landing a decent job and be able to have an equal access to a quality life that non-disabled persons enjoy as well.
The Disability Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2017 is guided by these following principles:
- Equality of opportunity
- Respect for disability as part of human diversity
- Gender equality
- Involvement of persons with disabilities through their representative organizations.
The United States of America also had laid down the laws and regulations that cover all the matters that pertain to the rights of people with disabilities enclosed in the Americans with Disability Act. If you are a person with a disability and you are new to applying for a job. It is recommended that you become familiar with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 first, as this law encloses all the information necessary for you to be guided in finding a decent job that you know you are good at. The ADA of 1990 is a federal civil rights law designed to prevent discrimination and enable individuals with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of society. One fundamental principle of the ADA is that individuals with disabilities who want to work and are qualified to work must have an equal opportunity to work.
The International Labour Office, Declaration in Philadelphia, International Labour Conference 1994 “All human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity. The attainment of the conditions in which this shall be possible must constitute the central aim of all national and international policy.” It is a clear statement that promotes equality to all and this includes the rights for every disabled person.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD), which was adopted in 2006 and rapidly ratified by a majority of countries, mirrors the important changes taking place in the manner on disregarding the disabled in both international and national policies, whereby people with disability are now given the privilege as rights holders and citizens rather than being the object for social welfare or charity programs. The CRPD promotes equal opportunities for disabled persons in their rights to be trained, to be employed and to be given a decent occupation.
The CRPD program, according to ILO Convention No. 159, and Recommendation No. 168. People with disabilities are given the right to choose the job they are confident to work with and should enjoy equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of access to the retention of and advancements in employment.
The ILO Convention No. 159
The ILO Convention concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) (No. 159), adopted in 1983, highlights the inextricable link which exists between vocational rehabilitation and employment by calling on each member State, in accordance with national conditions, practice and possibilities, to formulate, implement and periodically review a national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons.
- aim at ensuring that appropriate vocational rehabilitation measures are made available to all categories of disabled persons and at promoting employment opportunities for disabled persons in the open labour market (Art. 3);
- be based on the principle of equal opportunity between disabled workers and workers generally; equality of opportunity and treatment for disabled men and women workers should be respected; special positive measures aimed at effective equality of opportunity and treatment between disabled workers and other workers should not be regarded as discriminating against other workers (Art. 4); and
- involve consultation with representative organizations of employers and workers, and of and for disabled persons, with regard to implementation of the policy (Art. 5).
The ILO Recommendation No. 168
The Recommendation accompanying Convention No. 159 – the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Recommendation, 1983 (No. 168) outlines measures, which should be implemented. They include:
- measures to create job opportunities for persons with disabilities on the open labour market, including financial incentives to employers and reasonable adaptations to workplaces, equipment, and jobs (Art. 11(a));
- government support for sheltered employment, and for vocational training, vocational guidance, and placement services for disabled persons run by NGOs (Art. 11(b));
- promotion of cooperatives and small-scale industry (Art. 11(f));
- elimination of physical, communication and architectural barriers (Art. 11(g));
- dissemination of information on successful instances of employment integration (Art. 11(i));
- exemption from taxes of training materials and specified assistive devices (Art. 11(j));
- flexible job arrangement (Art. 11(k));
- elimination of exploitation in training and sheltered employment (Art. 11(m)); and
- applied research to further the participation of disabled persons in ordinary working life (Art. 11(l)).
Recommendation No. 168 also calls for community participation, in particular of employers’, workers’ and disabled persons’ organizations, in the organization and operation of vocational rehabilitation services (Art. 15). Special efforts should be made to ensure that services in rural areas and remote communities are provided at the same level and on the same terms as for urban areas (Arts. 20, 21). Proper training of personnel involved in the provision of vocational rehabilitation and employment services is essential (Arts. 22-30).
Sourced: Decent work for persons with disabilities: promoting rights in the global development agenda, ILO, Geneva, Copyright © International Labour Organization 2015 Third edition 2015.