Experts of the Council of Europe Project “Continued support to promoting social human rights in Ukraine” participated in the development of Draft Law No. 5344-d "On amendments to some laws of Ukraine on ensuring the right of persons with disabilities to work." In particular, the consultants provided recommendations on the compliance of the Draft Law with the Council of Europe standards and best European practices.
“Upon ratifying the European Social Charter, Ukraine undertook obligations to create conditions for the employment of persons with disabilities. That is why the development of an inclusive labour market should be among the priorities of state policy, which will contribute to increasing the level of ensuring social rights and the development of the economic well-being of the state,” said Siuzanna Mnatsakanian, Senior Project Officer of the Council of Europe Project “Continued support to promoting social human rights in Ukraine”.
According to the State Statistics Service and the Fund for Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities, only 16.2% of people with disabilities in Ukraine are employed, at the same time every second person with disabilities is of working age and needs rehabilitation and further employment.
“The Draft Law proposes to create favourable conditions for the employment of persons with disabilities, including by implementing approaches approved in other countries for the development of stimulating mechanisms for employers, expanding opportunities for persons with disabilities,” the explanatory note to the Draft Law states.
Among the main innovations of the Draft Law is the introduction of targeted contributions instead of administrative and economic sanctions for non-compliance with employment rate standards. The contribution provided is smaller, compared to the amount of administrative and economic sanctions, but the obligation to pay is established for all categories of employers, both in private and public sectors.
In addition, the Draft Law provides for the following:
- equal legally defined obligation to employ persons with disabilities for private and public sector employers;
- creation of a special fund of the state budget to support the employment of persons with disabilities;
- guaranteed for the employee preservation of labour relations with the employer where the employee had an accident at work/occupational disease;
- double liability of the employer for misuse of funds of the social protection fund for persons with disabilities;
- the right of the employer to guarantees provided by the Law of Ukraine "On Employment" in case of employment of a person with disabilities, regardless of his/her registration as unemployed;
- involvement of private employment agencies in the mechanism of promoting employment of persons with disabilities.
The Draft Law is expected contribute to:
- determining the possibility of employment of a person with a disability on a permissive basis: "all types of employment are allowed, except those that are expressly prohibited by the conclusion of the medical and social examination commission";
- formation of the employer's prestige as a representative of socially responsible business;
- formation of a new culture of perception of persons with disabilities with a shift of emphasis from limitations to abilities;
- involvement of the state and business in ensuring employment of persons with disabilities;
- increase in the number of employed people by increasing the level of employment of persons with disabilities and their salaries.
The Draft Law relies on the best practice of Poland, which is especially interesting and useful for Ukraine, because both countries faced similar challenges and had similar conditions for the formation of employment policy for persons with disabilities in the beginning. Poland started reforming the system of employment of persons with disabilities on the way to EU membership.
"The implementation of the Draft Law will ensure Ukraine's compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe and the European Union on the prohibition of discrimination against a person, in particular on the basis of his or her health/disability (Article E of the European Social Charter (Revised) and Art. 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union), as well as on the realisation of the right of persons with disabilities to independence, social and professional integration, participation in society (Article 15 of the European Social Charter (Revised) and Article 26 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). The principle of "equal opportunity and access to the labour market", enshrined in the Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing general rules of equal treatment in employment and occupation, also served as a guideline for determining a new mechanism for the employment of persons with disabilities in Ukraine," said Svitlana Synchuk, consultant of the Council of Europe Project " Continued support to promoting social human rights in Ukraine”.
The Council of Europe Project “Continued support to promoting social human rights in Ukraine” is implemented by the Office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine for 2018-2022. The project aims to strengthen the sustainability of democracy in Ukraine through the expansion of social rights in accordance with European standards.
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