Employment is considered one of the most important goals for persons with disabilities. In fact employment is instrumental for self esteem, economic and social integration within the family, the community and the society.
Right to work and employment is strictly related to other factors such as access to education, to vocational training, but also to accessible transportation, accessible ICT and reasonable accommodation of the work place and attitude of employers. This requires the removal of physical, legal and attitudinal barriers.
Of the estimated 700 million persons with disabilities in the world, approximately 75% of disabilities occur during working age.
According to the ILO, “as a group, persons with disabilities often face disproportionate poverty and unemployment.”
Discrimination and lack of access to educational and training opportunities, to transportation to accessible ICT and to credit can leave persons with disabilities with limited employment and income-earning options, which in turn negatively impact their enjoyment of other human rights, such as the right to an adequate standard of living.
Persons with disabilities are often subjected to poor working conditions and disproportionately low pay .
Disability-based discrimination in the employment context constitutes one of the most pervasive and insidious forms of discrimination faced by persons with disabilities in many societies.
Barriers to enjoyment of the right to employment by persons with disabilities include:
CRPD Article 27 has particular relevance for the Bank and client countries in light of the Millennium Development Goal of ending poverty and hunger.
How does the CRPD address the right to employment?
Article 27 recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all matters of employment, including the “conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions.”
Article 27 ensures the provision of reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
Article 27 ensures just and favorable conditions of employment (such as equal pay for equal work), and ensures that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or servitude.
Article 27 promotes employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors, and promotes technical and vocational guidance programs.
Right to work and employment
“ 54. Article 27 of the Convention emphasizes the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others, including their right to equal pay for equal work, as well as trade union rights. The Convention prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantees reasonable accommodation in all phases of work and employment, including recruitment, hiring and employment, advancement and conditions of work. It requires positive measures to ensure that the open labour market is inclusive to persons with disabilities and to promote opportunities for employment or self-employment. Article 27 restates the prohibition of slavery and servitude and the protection from forced or compulsory labour on an equal basis with others.
55. In the spirit of the Convention, any legislation on employment of persons with disabilities needs to protect against any form of discrimination, direct and indirect, in all sectors, forms and levels of employment. The prohibition of discrimination shall apply to all phases of employment, including conditions for access to employment, to self-employment or occupation, including selection criteria and recruitment conditions, vocational guidance, vocational training, practical work experience, employment and working conditions, including dismissal and pay, membership of, and involvement in, an organization of workers or employers, or any organization whose members carry on a particular profession, including the benefits provided for by such organizations. National legislation shall impose the duty to provide reasonable accommodation, clarify the elements of such conduct and the factors upon which to assess the reasonableness of the accommodation, and unequivocally link a denial of reasonable accommodation to an act of discrimination. It should be noted that article 27, paragraph 1 (a), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability on all matters concerning all forms of employment and is not limited to prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities.
56. The scope of the protection granted by the Convention should be carefully mirrored in national legislation. A general provision on the admissibility of affirmative action measures should be included in legislation, clarifying that such measures shall not be taken as discriminatory against other members of society. Special measures established by law might include the determination of quotas in the recruitment of persons with disabilities. Other measures might include the provision of financial subsidies to employers, including tax reductions, vocational guidance and placement services.”
States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation, to, inter alia:
Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;
Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances;
Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;
Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training;
Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment;
Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one's own business;
Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector;
Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures;
Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace;
Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market;
Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programmes for persons with disabilities.
States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour.