Roundtable on Employment of Persons with Disabilities Sparks Lively Discussion

06 Dec 2012

UNDP organized a roundtable on employment of persons with disabilities, as a stage in the preparation of a comprehensive report which elaborates on EU policies and best practices in this field. Representatives from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Chamber of Commerce, the Community of Sheltered Companies, as well as experts and disability activists attended this event.

“Let us make sure that persons with disabilities can become fully contributing members of our society. Let us hope, in the near future, that all persons with disabilities of working age would be able to earn a living from freely chosen work and to work in an environment that is both accessible and accepting”, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti said.

The draft Report on Employment of Persons with Disabilities compares the employment policies and practices regarding persons with disabilities in the country with those in the United Kingdom, Germany and Bulgaria. The experts who prepared the draft report offered two options for a comprehensive review of the employment legislation in the country, especially the laws and policies which regulate employment of persons with disabilities. Most participants who discussed the options said they would prefer a substantial review of the legislation over a fast-track scenario which would result in immediate changes.

“Our goal here is not to reach a consensus”, disability rights expert and one of the authors of the draft report Kapka Panayotova said. “We are here to start a larger consultative process which would involve all key stakeholders in the field”. Discrimination on the grounds of disability remains to be one of the major barriers to employment. This country is no exception as most persons with disabilities are social care beneficiaries and only 2226 such persons are registered as employed with the Employment Service Agency.