On August 4th 2017, the Romanian government adopted an emergency degree (60/2017) that put hundreds of social economy enterprises, workshops and additional social services who provide essential work-related opportunities for persons with disabilities at risk of bankruptcy.
While the decree included several positive social protection measures for persons with disabilities it also removed the option for companies to compensate shortcomings in their compliancy with Romania’s current quota law for employment for persons with disabilities by buying products from protective employment units. The only remaining options for companies are thus to either abide by the quota rules or pay a significant fine to the Public Authorities. The decree did not mention if the Public Authorities would re-distribute the additional income from the fines towards supporting the employment of persons with disabilities. As a result of this change the degree endangered the jobs of an estimated 2,000 persons with severe disabilities.
In response to the adoption of emergency degree (60/2017) EASPD member Fundatia Alaturi de voi (Close to you Foundation) and its partners, including FONNS submitted an official complaint to the Romanian Ombudsman with the support of EASPD.
Two years after the adoption of the decree the Romanian Ombudsman has responded to the complaint, to which it has agreed the degree is unconstitutional and that it will take it to the Romanian Constitutional Court. In particular the response states that the degree has a negative impact on the rights of persons with disabilities as it decreases the degree of protection that the state is required to ensure, especially in the field of integration into work and in community life, as well as by the effect of the implicit increase of the risk of social exclusion of this disadvantaged category.
The response of the Romanian Ombudsman has been reported on by the National Press Agency in Romania, to read their full article in Romanian, click here.