What is the EU Disability Employment Package?
🗂️ On 20th of September 2022, the European Commission launched its Package to Improve Labour Market Outcomes of Persons with Disabilities (also known as Disability Employment Package). This set of Documents was announced as one of the flagship initiatives of the EU Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030.
🎯 The Package’s core objective is to improve the employment situation of persons with disabilities, in line with Article 27 of the UNCRPD and the European Pillar of Social Rights. It aims to attain this goal through six areas of action. On 7th of September 2023, we had the pleasure to attend an insightful webinar hosted by European Disability Forum where European Commission DG EMPL representative Monika Chaba unpacked these deliverables. During the online session, testimonials from Public Employment Services (PES Network) and Cedefop demonstrated the many positive ongoing efforts and good practices aimed at improving labour market outcomes for persons with disabilities.
Why is it necessary?
📊 Unfortunately, to this day the disability employment gap persists at around 21% (a measure comparing employment of persons with disabilities versus those without, in all EU Member States), as stated by EDF in their 7th Human Rights Report on “The Right to Work: The employment situation of persons with disabilities in Europe“. This figure has remained between 20-25% since the Commission began monitoring the indicator in 2014. Hence, it is clear that no significant progress has been made to improve the inclusivity and openness of the labor market in Europe.
When persons with disabilities are hired, they are often segregated to lower quality jobs, part-time work, and/or sheltered employment. Meaningful work opportunities remain limited, and perspective employees with disabilities have insufficient support to acquire skills and expertise needed to thrive in the workplace. These barriers are in violation of their rights to work and to equal opportunities.
How does the Valueable Project align with this Package?
💡Vocational Education and Training (VET) Agencies are crucial actors which must be engaged in the implementation of the EU Commission Package and broader Disability Strategy. Our dedicated partners contribute to the development of new useful skills for persons with intellectual disabilities through job placements in their respective countries.
🚀 In fact, one of the Package’s areas of focus is the transition from sheltered employment to the open labour market. This is exactly what Valueable Network strives to do through its internships abroad program, leveraging the expertise of its partners to create cross-country mobility opportunities. Such experiences contribute to the fight against stigma and discrimination which far too many persons with disabilities still face today. Showing that restaurants, hotels and cafes can indeed have an inclusive workforce sets the example for positive practices across the European hospitality industry.