Not buried alive any more

So far the public sector has been the major employer of registered disabled persons while the private sector has been catching up since the government introduced incentives to employ disabled persons. 

To live as human beings like others, disabled persons need to work. But employing disabled persons makes also business sense. Employing people with a disability makes sense for a lot of companies. In fact, a number of private companies have been doing so for a number of years. The public sector employs more than the 2% of disabled persons it is obliged to do by law. 

So far the public sector has been the major employer of registered disabled persons (RDPs). The private sector has been catching up since the government introduced incentives to employ disabled persons. The number of employees engaged by this sector has risen from 103 in 2013 to 488 in 2015. This accounts for around 58% of employers meeting the 2% quota and obligation.

If this momentum is kept, we will quickly reach our targets and ensure that all those RDPs seeking employment will be actively engaged. Through this we can ensure that young people with a disability will be given the opportunity to work rather than being condemned to a life at home, virtually being buried alive.

Recent developments regarding employment of disabled persons have probably been misunderstood.  Some employers have shown concern at the threshold set, whilst some employees have shown apprehension about their employability.  However some of these concerns are more perceived than real. It is more a question of registration.  For example during 2015, only 25.0% or 92 persons of the 368 disabled persons who were employed were registered with KNPD in the register for disabled persons. This means that three out of every four persons with a disability were not registering as such because they had lost all hope of finding a job.

Data protection prohibits the ETC or any other institution from divulging personal details to third parties without the consent of the interested party. However, in order to facilitate compliance with regulations regarding RDPs, employers can double check with the ETC and the latter can confirm or otherwise whether the cited person is a registered disabled person.

A good number of firms are compliant with the quota of RDPs, some fully and some partially. In 2015, 368 persons with a disability were employed with firms employing  20+ individuals. Seventy-two persons with a disability were employed with companies employing between 20 and 49 workers, but only 29 out of the 72 were registered as RDPs.

Companies employing 50+ workers account for 296 (employed with 141 firms) of the 368 persons with a disability. Of these only 63 of the 296 were registering as disabled persons. This shows that there need not be any major cause for concern on the part of employers.

164 private business units are not compliant with the quota and do not employ registered disabled persons. With the measures introduced for employers taking on RDPs and who pay the contribution, 82.9% would still be net beneficiaries. Only 17.1% would be net contributors. There are 374 business units that are not compliant. Of these 313 units need to employ one RDP, 44 businesses should employ two RDPs and another 17 business units need to employ 3+ RDPs.

397 employers will benefit from government incentives. The waiver of social security contributions will total €0.5 million and the 25% refund on wages paid to persons with disability will total around €2.2 million. Thus employers stand to receive a total of €2.8 million, in addition to a weekly wage subsidy of €135 for three years for every new disabled person engaged.

So far employers have contributed €173,600 and the government’s contribution for employment in the private sector of persons with a disability amounts to €2.8 million. The government funds training for disabled people to ensure employability and also to provide sheltered employment training.

We must look at abilities rather than disabilities and work towards enabling, not disabling. We must help people manage their disability and give registered disabled persons the opportunity to manage their own disability and their work.