On Wednesday 14 October, Inclusion Europe organised the fifth online event as part of the project “My Talents. For Diversity”. The aim of this online event was to raise the debate about how EU institutions could make sure they are also fostering the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the labour market.
- Rebekka Wiemann – Equal Opportunities Officer at the Council of the European Union
- Katrin Langensiepen – Member of the European Parliament (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Germany), member of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament and member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament
- Stefan Trömel – Senior Disability Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO)
- Silvia Muñoz – Project Manager at Plena inclusión
How does the Council of the European Union support people with disabilities?
For Rebekka Wiemann, the Council of the European Union is on the way of becoming an inclusive institution. The first measure the Council of the European Union has done over the last years is improving the accessibility of the building. This includes the meeting rooms but also the visitor centre where both the site and the information provided to the visitors are accessible for people with disabilities. The Council of the European Union has also set up rules and guidance on reasonable accommodations.
Rebekka Wiemann pointed out the existence of two networks, one of staff with disabilities and one of the carers of people with disabilities. As she explained, these networks are not only an important place for colleagues to exchange views, ideas and support, but they also represent for the Council of the European Union key actors for consultations.
In 2020, the Council of the European Union launched the Positive action programme for trainees with a disability which guarantees from 4 to 6 paid traineeships a year to EU nationals with a recognised disability.
“The more diverse an institution is, the better outcomes and the higher job satisfaction is”. Rebekka Wiemann
“Nothing about us, without us”
Katrin Langensiepen presented the first draft of a new report to the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament on equal treatment in employment in light of the UNCRPD. 9 NGOs, including Inclusion Europe, contributed during the drafting of the report with information and insights.
The employment of persons with disabilities and equal treatment for persons with disabilities in the labour market is a topic that is very important and personal to Katrin Langensiepen.
“As the only female Member of the European Parliament with a visible disability, I know how discriminatory a job search can be for persons with disabilities. After school one told me working in an institution is my only option. Now, I am a Member of the European Parliament!” Katrin Langensiepen
The report makes it clear: much more needs to be done for implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in the fields of work. Katrin Langensiepen presented the points the report emphasizes:
- Phasing out of sheltered workshops that are not in line with the UN CRPD
- EU guidelines on reasonable accommodation
- Diversity quotas
- Universal Design
- Considering intersectionality
- Ensure mutual recognition of disability status
- Data regarding persons with disabilities
What is the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy?
Stefan Trömel explained how the United Nations are currently working to optimise their own policies and strategies on disability inclusion.
In June 2019, the United Nations launched the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIC) to raise United Nations standards and performance on disability inclusion, across their work and around the world. The United Nations want to include people with disabilities in all their work. This means helping more people with disabilities to work for the United Nations, but also giving staff information and training about how to include people with disabilities.
Stefan Trömel explained that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is committed to become a fully disability-inclusive organisation. In its disability inclusion policy and strategy, the ILO recognises that decent work for all can be realised only if persons with disabilities are fully included in the world of work. For him, the ILO needs to lead by example. The ILO must ensure that persons with disabilities can contribute, on an equal basis to others, to the work of the ILO. The ILO must also ensure that its policies and projects contain a human rights-based, gender-responsive approach to disability inclusion. Unfortunately, he explained that the majority or the United Nations staff is not enough sufficiently aware of disability issues.
How does Plena inclusión support access to employment in the public sector for people with intellectual disabilities?
Since 2011, Plena inclusión is working on the Public Employment project, through which it supports the Ministry of the Presidency in the specific call for positions for people with intellectual disabilities in the State Administration. As Silvia Muñoz explained, in this project, Plena inclusión supports public administrations preparing employment calls, provides easy-to-read training materials for candidates, sets up an agreement about the format of the exam, supports people with intellectual disabilities with job coaches, etc.
“People with more complex needs have the rights to employment and are not accessing public sector employment, more adjustments are required in the hiring process. No one should be left behind.” Silvia Muñoz
In Spain, 2% of all public sector employment positions are reserved for people with intellectual disabilities. The quota system is a measure to increase the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in the labour market.
Watch the online event:
More information about the MTFD project here.