The report, Employment and Covid-19 report, is written by Inclusion Europe and Plena inclusión under the My Talents For Diversity project. The report covers the state of employment of people with intellectual disabilities, before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
To achieve an inclusive society where people with intellectual disabilities make their own choices and live independently, secure employment is essential. Having a job ensures people with disabilities have financial independence, feel valuable, and contribute their talents to society.
People with disabilities have a right to work just like everybody else. However, people with intellectual disabilities face significant obstacles in access to employment. For example, being under guardianship means not being able to make your own choices or sign a contract. Those who are placed in segregated education may not receive a school certificate that allows them to work or access higher education.
This report describes how the pandemic has affected employment for people with intellectual disabilities. Created from a deep concern about a lack of respect for the rights of people with disabilities, the report shows how the pandemic and measures taken in response to it have increased the discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities. It also offers recommendations and good practices to support employment in these circumstances.
“Having a job is about being independent, it is about having co-workers and it makes me feel that what I do is important. I have been working for a long time and I am happy with my job. But I know not all people with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to have a job.” Soufiane El Amrani
If a person with intellectual disabilities does enter the open labour market, they often lose their disability benefits, leading to higher costs of living. Many employers do not believe people with intellectual disabilities are able to work and perform the tasks their business needs.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises “the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and a work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.” The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the European Social Charter and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights also recognise the right to work; furthermore, the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights affirms “the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in community life.” The authorities have an obligation to respect and ensure the fulfilment of this right.
“Neglect and discrimination. Multiplied. How Covid-19 affected the rights of people with
intellectual disabilities and their families.” Inclusion Europe, 2020
My Talents For Diversity project outcomes and best practices.