Persons with disabilities often face additional hurdles when it comes to participating in the open labour market. Although the EU has some policies set in place to support persons with disabilities to overcome hurdles, progress has been limited. Persons with disabilities often face problems ranging from disability related stereotypes to bureaucratic difficulties in accessing the available services, lack of strategic vision in governance, insufficient monitoring of policy implementation, limited training resources for employers and lack of specialist support, to name a few.
Additionally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges people with disabilities face in different spheres of their lives – their health, social circumstances, and labour market situation. To look deeper into this complex problem, Eurofound has published the “Disability and labour market integration: Policy trends and support in EU Member States” report to study policy developments by all EU member states to support inclusion in the labour market. The research looked into 150 policies set in place before COVID-19 for an inclusive labour market in Europe. Members of EASPD contributed to the research that was carried out. The report helps to not only understand the problems and obstacles faced by persons with disabilities in the labour market in Europe, but also provides solutions on how to tackle these problems.
The report sheds light on three areas where persons with disabilities require support in the labour market. These include finding employment, sustaining this employment and returning to work after a break. Accompanying these parameters is a case study of Ireland that helps to explain the situation better. This research revealed that during the pandemic response to job loss of persons with disabilities was low. Therefore, it is necessary that financial resources are directed towards their needs during EU Recovery from the virus.
Some suggestions also include the importance of involving NGOs and other support services while drafting a policy for an inclusive labour market. Additionally, constant evaluation of measures that are already in force to support the disability sector should be diligently carried out. The report puts forth an important point of ensuring that inclusive social protection mechanisms are provided to all persons with disabilities, regardless of employment status.
To read the full report click here.