Report: Barriers to employment of persons with disabilities to be removed
The barriers and practices excluding persons with disabilities from working life have not been comprehensively examined in Finland before. According to the report, the labour market should increase people’s awareness of persons with disabilities and the special needs related to the condition but also of the opportunities involved.
A report, published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, identifies structural and legislative barriers that place persons with disabilities in an unequal position in working life. The report also proposes measures that could increase the inclusion of persons with disabilities in working life and thus help to boost employment. The aim is that as many persons with disabilities or partial work ability as possible could find a job in the open labour market. This is also a precondition for achieving a high employment rate.
“The question is not only about a high employment rate but also about non-discrimination and fairness. We have a long road ahead of us in ensuring that persons with disabilities have a full right to work. The measures proposed in the report can help in removing barriers to employment and at the same time contribute to a more egalitarian working life,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
Attention to services, information and attitudes
Services for persons with disabilities, including personal assistance and transportation services, play a big role when it comes to their ability to work and inclusion in working life. Practices vary in different municipalities, which is why the report recommends that attention should be paid to the materialisation of regional equality. In addition, services should support employment better than before. For example, persons with disabilities who need transportation services are not currently entitled to reimbursement of expenses caused by travel during the working day.
TE services are also important for the employment of persons with disabilities. The report recommends that services should be developed in collaboration with organisations and experts by experience. People working in the employment services need more information about the rights of persons with disabilities and about their services. Persons with disabilities on disability pension, who are willing to participate in working life or employment services, should be taken into account.
According to the report, the network of service providers for persons with disabilities is complex. It would be important that, for example with the help of work capacity coordinators, measures be developed ensuring that the services provided are timely and multidisciplinary.
One of the barriers to employment could lie in the employer’s attitude or the threshold involved in recruiting a person with a disability. The report recommends that information should be disseminated about targeted training, for example. On the other hand, one challenge to employment can be the fact that persons with disabilities do not have work experience. According to the report, this could be influenced through guidance for students, improved accessibility, dissemination of information, and new kind of cooperation between educational institutions and producers of services for persons with disabilities.
Right to work on an equal basis with others
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities obliges States Parties to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in all administrative branches. Article 27 of the Convention provides for the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others.
People with a long-term illness or a disability form a heterogeneous group of individuals with different opportunities of employment. The report examines the employment of persons with disabilities by assessing the employment ecosystem formed of individuals and society.
The report is based on existing legislative material and research data. The author of the report has also consulted stakeholders and used information about the services that are available today.
Anni Kyröläinen, Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 266
Patrik Tötterman, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 034