MEPs: give persons with disabilities genuine equal access to the labour market 

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In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs call for better facilities for persons with disabilities on the work floor, to allow equal access to the open labour market.

The resolution calls for better facilities to allow persons with disabilities to participate on equal footing on the work floor. Despite having the full right to participate on the labour market, only 50 % of people with disabilities are in employment. Since employers often lack information on what constitutes reasonable accommodation and how it can be applied in practice, EU guidelines should be drafted for clarification, MEPs say. The development of universal design standards should make sure that all new buildings and products, including workplaces, should be useable for all, they add.


Diversity and access to the open labour market


MEPs call on the member states to examine the introduction of compulsory diversity quota, with adequate financial and administrative support for undertakings to reach these quotas. The European Institutions should lead by example by setting a diversity quota for recruiting persons with disabilities and employing them at all levels. The practice to employ persons with disabilities in sheltered workshops where they lack an employee status and a minimum wage and have no access to the open labour market, violates UN and EU regulation and should be phased out, MEPs say.


Data and definition

Since there is a considerable lack of data regarding persons with disabilities, which makes it difficult to assess the situation in the Member States, MEPs ask the EU has to invest in the collection of comparable disability-related data. The resolution also calls on the Commission and the member states to harmonise the definition of disability and to ensure mutual recognition of disability status across member states.


The resolution was adopted by 578 votes to 65 and 51 abstentions,


Background

The resolution takes stock of the progress made by the EU and the member states on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), adopted in 2006. The EU became a party to the UNCRPD in December 2010, with the Convention coming into force for the EU in January 2011.


In the EU, 50.6 % of persons with disabilities are in employment compared with 74.8 % of persons without disabilities. These statistics exclude people living in institutions or who are considered unable to work. 29.5% of women and 27.5% of men with disabilities are at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the EU compared to 22.4% of the entire population. Persons with disabilities are more likely to face in-work poverty than those without disabilities (11% versus 9.1%) due to the extra costs related to their disability.