The European Commission published a new proposal to the European Council for a Joint Employment Report 2021. EASPD has provided a summary of the issues and discussion found in the report.
The proposal highlights several vital messages relating to the impact of COVID-19 on employment growth, GDP and working conditions. It also presents the social impact of vulnerable groups such as children, non-EU members and persons with disabilities and the effect of the unprecedented pressure of the crisis on social services which were not considered essential.
The Commission highlights several COVID-related challenges for Long-term care (LTC), ranging from the limited availability of data, demanding situations for workers and informal carers, discontinuity of services, capacity issues for testing and personal protective equipment to violations of human rights of older people and persons with disabilities, especially those with intellectual and severe disabilities. Some of them represent new crisis-related challenges (e.g. testing capacity), while in other cases the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated existing structural challenges (e.g. concerning access to care and the workforce).
The report states that the risk of poverty and social exclusion remained high for most vulnerable groups, particularly for families with children, people with disabilities and non-EU born, all disproportionally hit by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2019, 28.5% of persons with disabilities in the EU-27 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 18.6% of people without disabilities. Pointing out the new strategy on the rights of persons with disabilities to be launched by the Commission in 2021 will promote the economic and social inclusions of persons with disabilities. The new strategy is expected to focus on a wide range of areas, including education, employment, adequate social protection, accessibility and non-discrimination.
On the subject of education, for persons with disabilities, the statistics are higher on early school leaving and is relatively low on the number of persons with disabilities doing tertiary education which can negatively affect their employment chances. Furthermore, only 29.4% of persons with disabilities completed tertiary or equivalent education as completed to 43.8% for those without disabilities. The report states that member states' measures should and can be targeted support to vulnerable groups are fundamental to reduce early school leaving and educational inequalities and promote participation in mainstream education for persons with disabilities.
For persons with disabilities, the reports low employment and activity rates, which indicates an untapped talent potential. In the EU-27 in 2018, people with disabilities' employment rate was 50.8% versus 75% for those without disabilities. Despite a slight increase in 2019, suggests little change in the significant barriers that persons with disabilities face in accessing the labour market. The employment rate of women with disabilities (47.8%) remained lower than that of men with disabilities (54.3%). Furthermore, the report highlights that member States launched several measures to promote people with disabilities' employment.
In conclusion, the report depicts statistics on employment, education and working conditions from an awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups of persons with disabilities, non-EU members and children. The proposal includes measures that member states can and should implement and address the trends and challenges within the European Union.