Disability empowerment NGO praises budget's disability measures

Breaking Limits praises government decision to enforce a law that requires several companies to employ people with a disability. 

Disability empowerment NGO Breaking Limits praised Budget 2015 for introducing measures that will enhance the quality of life of people with a disability. Specifically, they praised the government’s decision to enforce a law that 2% of the workforce of companies employing over 20 people must be composed of people with a disability.  

“Even though this 2% quota has been in our law since time immemorial, we have seen statistics that show that out of the 20,000 people with a disability who are of age to be able to work, 18,000 are unemployed,” the NGO said. “This statistic is very difficult for us to digest as people with a disability.”

By 2017, companies who don’t fulfil the disability quota will have to pay an annual €2,400 fee for every disabled person they should be employing, capped at €10,000. In 2015, such employers will have to pay a third of this fee and in 2016, they will have to pay half of it. Funds generated through this initiative will go to the National Fund for Integration of People with a Disability.  

“[Such] measures leave us hopeful that they will start to yield good results, especially if they are accompanied by other initiatives that will contribute to a change in attitude towards people with a disability,” Breaking Limits said.

They also said that the disability pension that will be added to the wage disabled people get from gainful employment will encourage more people with a disability to enter the world of work.

“The disability pension should not be taken away once a disabled person enters the world of work,” the NGO said.

They also praised the introduction of ten community homes for people with disability, the improvement of respite services, the exemption of tax trusts left in inheritance for people with a disability, and the announcement that the presence of a disabled person on a number of undisclosed government boards will become compulsory.

“However, we stress the importance that the government focuses its attention also on investing in independent living programmes,” Breaking Limits said. 

More in Budget 2015