On January 19th 2023, EUD attended a meeting of the Disability Platform Subgroup on the Employment Package, of which EUD is a member. The meeting was an occasion to discuss the Catalogue of Positive Actions for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the labour market. After the introduction of the agenda by the European Commission Senior Expert Ms Ima Placencia Porrero, the meeting was opened by the General Secretary of the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR) Ms Laura Jones.
Ms Jones introduced several good examples of inclusive practices in employment within different countries such as Norway (“Ripples in the Water” project), Belgium (“Talentoscoop” project), USA (“National Employment Team” project), and Spain (“PorTalento” project). In her presentation, Ms Jones highlighted various aspects characterising these projects including: an open regular labour market, establishing partnerships with employers, flexible work pathway and support, and an indvidualised approach to employment. In her presentations, Ms Jones also analysed the main elements that constitute effective inclusive quotas in the work environment for persons with disabilities, namely: a broad definition of disability, low bureaucracy, and a monitoring system.
Following this presentation, Ms Andrea Naphegyj from the European Disability Expertise (EDE) provided fundamental features of support services for businesses employing persons with disabilities. Among these, Ms Naphegyj mentioned the payment or grants to employers hiring persons with disabilities, financial support to employers providing training to persons with disabilities, and financial support to cover potential additional cost when hiring persons with disabilities. In this presentation, several examples within EU countries were provided on both support services for businesses and subsidies/quotas.
The final part of the meeting was reserved to an open discussion among the participants about the Catalogue of Positive Actions and reasonable accommodation aiming to facilitate the hiring and employment of persons with disabilities. Overall, the organizations of persons with disabilities present at the meeting expressed general support of the listed practices.
EUD acknowledges the importance and the potential of this list of practices. Nevertheless, EUD emphasises that to ensure full accessibility for deaf persons within and accessing the labour market, this entails the provision of qualified and professional national sign language interpretating services. Moreover, trainings for raising awareness of deaf culture and the importance of national sign language should be promoted within the work environment among hearing employees.