Does the state oblige employers to take the necessary action on accommodations made in the work place for all employees with disabilities?

Explanation

For employees with disabilities both to work, and to work effectively for their employers, such accommodations will need to be made in the work place. Obliging such action on the part of employers should go a long way not only to ensuring both, but also to ensuring that persons with disabilities are properly included in the workforce If employers are required to take, in particular, any specific actions, please describe what these are. 

In detail

Summary

With 38.4% respondents having replied negatively and 36% claiming the actions following the obligations are only partial, there are general trends that explain the non-conformance or inexistence of accommodations in workplaces for people with disabilities:

  • Restrictive criteria and quotas that inhibit action on the provision of accommodations: accommodations often depend on sets of criteria related to the person with disabilities’ case or the employer. For example, an organisation with more than 50 staff is obliged to provide accommodations in Finland, while in Benin or Germany it is generally applicable for existing employees who become disabled. Where funds for accommodating people with disability are available, there are limited number of applications for employers
  • Ineffectiveness of funds for accommodations or lack of proactivity: where grants and accommodations are available, a considerable number of countries claimed the delays in the provision of accommodation are a major barrier for people with disabilities to find employment, as many can wait up to a year to received accommodations. Employers often lack in the financial and organisational preparedness to make necessary accommodations.
  • The issue also stems from recruitment processes, there is often a long time gap between application and the start of work which poses problems for the employer, and has indirect social costs for the person with disability.

There are however, some employment support schemes available for new and existing employees such as re-deployment (partial or full change of tasks in job role, re-training, flexible working arrangements, provision of material), which also rely on grants for accommodations such as the Workplace/Equipment Adaptation Grant.

Comments

“Most employees are not accepted because of perceived cost of accommodations. Cost of minor accommodations mostly undertaken by employers.” (Frank Hall-Bentick, Joint Chair, International Portfolio, AFDO, Australia)

“Reasonable accommodation required but employers may apply for a grant but unreasonable delays in paying grant pose obstacle for people getting employment. No official policy or recognition on accommodation for people with psychosocial disabilities.” (Liz Brosnan, Researcher, Recovery Experts by Experience, Ireland)

“Employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” but the definition of reasonable varies from organization to organization. Also, sometimes the burden of arranging for accommodations falls upon the employee.” (Virginia Atkinson, Access and Inclusion Specialist, International Foundation for Electoral Systems United States)

CRPD Article

Article 27- Work and Employment

“1. 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:

a) 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;

b) 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;

c) Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;

d) Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training;

e) 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;

f) Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one’s own business;

g) Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector;

h) 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;

i) Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace;

j) Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market;

k) Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programmes for persons with disabilities.

2. 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.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)