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Advancing the participation of people with disabilities in the labour market: INTERNATIONAL PRACTICES AND LESSONS . Presentation to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Knowledge Talk 12 January, 2012 Michael J. Prince University of Victoria. O ur focus today.

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Advancing the participation of people with disabilities in the labour market: INTERNATIONAL PRACTICES AND LESSONS

Presentation to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Knowledge Talk

12 January, 2012

Michael J. Prince

University of Victoria

O ur focus today
O the labour market: ur focus today

  • What policies act as barriers to the labour market participation of people with disabilities?

  • What policies act as facilitators of labour market integration for people with disabilities?

  • What lessons can be drawn from promising employment practices at the international level?

International sample
International sample the labour market:

Anglo-liberal states

Scandinavian-European states






  • Australia

  • Ireland

  • New Zealand

  • United Kingdom

  • United States of America

Sources the labour market:

  • Prince (2006) International Best Practices In Service Delivery For People With Disabilities: Lessons from other countries and options for Service Canada

  • Prince (2007) Labour Market Participation of Canadians with Disabilities:Trends, Barriers, Facilitators, Policy Lessons and Options for Positive Outcomes

  • Prince (2010) New Strategic Directions for Active Employment Measures for Persons with Disabilities: A Literature Review and Policy Research Agenda

  • OECD (2010) Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers

  • Prince (2011) Gaining, Maintaining And Returning To Employment:A Synthesis Report On Challenges And Successes Of People With Disabilities In Canada

  • World Health Organization (2011) World Report on Disability

Active labour market programs
Active labour market programs the labour market:

Active labour market programming:

  • public employment services and administration

  • training and special support for apprenticeship

  • job rotation and job sharing measures

  • employment incentives for recruitment and job maintenance

  • supported employment and rehabilitation

  • direct job creation

  • start-incentives for self-employment and micro-finance for businesses

    Related measures: laws and regulations, income benefit systems, social marketing campaigns

I nternational trends
I the labour market: nternational trends

  • The employment rate for disabled persons in most industrial countries falls within a range of between 30% to 50%

  • Employment rates of people with disability from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s declined in eight countries; remained steady in another eight countries; and increased in seven countries

  • Canada realized a moderate increase in the average annual growth on the employment rate of people with a disability as did Finland and the Netherlands, with relatively stronger growth rates in Ireland, Mexico, Spain and the UK

  • People with disabilities are more likely than people without disability to be in short-term and part-time employment, self-employment, and in the “informal economy”

Disability related a ctivation m easures policy types and t arget groups
Disability-related the labour market: activation measures: policy types and target groups

Promising practices
Promising practices the labour market:

Encouraging practices internationally are evident in four policy approaches:

  • Reforming assessment procedures to focus on the capacities of people and their ability to work

  • Changing benefit structures in order to improve work incentives, such as by offering financial incentives to employers and or to the employees with partially-reduced work capacities

  • Expanding rehabilitation and employment services to support job searches

  • Transitioning from sheltered work to supported employment and/or social enterprises

Barriers a striking degree of continuity
Barriers: a striking degree of continuity the labour market:

  • In policy and service delivery systems:

    • the resolve of medical assessment models

    • traditional social service approach by many community supports, e.g., segregated day programming

    • the continuance of sheltered workshops and other separated work settings

  • In employment activation measures:

    • the absence of personal supports to enable access

    • limited supply of services

    • access to employment services may be restricted to certain groups, such as new claimants versus existing clients

  • Facilitators
    Facilitators the labour market:

    • Access to education and training, and funding

    • Informed conceptions about the abilities and productive capacity of people with disability

    • Social networks of friends, confidantes and companions

    • Personalized employment counselling

    • Work-focused interviews

    • Early vocational rehabilitation measures

    • Financial incentives to assist people with disabilities with living expenses associated with their impairments

    • Employers forums on disability, financed and operated by employer groups

    F acilitators
    F the labour market: acilitators

    • Employment services and supports:

      • Dedicated and committed staff offering services to clients

      • Tailor-made job search activities and training specifically designed to promote each client’s abilities and strengths

      • Adjusting the pace at which people move towards sustained employment according to their own employability and circumstances

      • Recognizing and responding to the differing needs of people with disabilities

      • Information and advice, including implications for income benefits and services

      • Accompanying clients to job interviews

      • Job matching geared to local labour markets

    F acilitators1
    F the labour market: acilitators

    • Employer supports and services

      • Detailed job specifications from employers

      • Advice and information about assistive technologies, specialized training, supported employment, and reasonable accommodation

      • Disability management, sickness absence monitoring and return to work plans

      • Ongoing practical and emotional support for both clients and employers to help with any problems which may arise, such as through peer support and mentoring

      • Active involvement and support from partner agencies

    R esponsibilities of employers
    R the labour market: esponsibilities of employers

    • Employment protection lawsat times include exemptions for small or medium sized establishments, and exclude nonstandard forms of employment such as casual and temporary or part-time labour, all relatively important segments of work opportunities for people with disabilities

    • Mandatory employment quotas on employers to hire a certain number of people with disabilities are not a widespread policy approach

    • Evidence on employment effects of anti-discrimination legislation on people with disability is inconclusive (OECD 2007: 164)

    Financial incentives for employers
    Financial incentives the labour market: for employers

    • The most common policy tool across OECD nations

    • Tax reductions of social security premiums (premium discounts), business loans, and direct grants for workplace modifications that enable the hiring and retention of persons with disabilities

    • Wage subsidies may help people with disability to increase their human capital, obtain work experience and skills which can be transferable to non-subsidized jobs

    • The take-up rate for such programs is often low

    • The impact of subsidized employment schemes is “ambiguous” for hiring people with disabilities versus retaining workers

    Collaborative relationships
    Collaborative relationships the labour market:

    • Employer forums can be effective vehicles, often at regional or sectoral levels, for input by non-governmental actors into active employment measures decision-making:

      • bringing together leading employers and employer groups

      • raising the public profile of the issue of employment of people with disability

      • providing a linkage between employers and government officials

      • linking people with disabilities with employers

      • generating inclusive workplace policies and practices

    Opportunities for innovation
    Opportunities for innovation the labour market:

    • Working together to shift attitudes about people with disability and work

    • Funding to help start small businesses by people with disabilities and build capacity of social enterprises

    • Strengthening incentives and supports for employers

    • Assisting employment service providers to transition from segregated to open labour market approaches

    • Enhancing supported employment and more inclusive workplaces

    Thank you
    Thank you the labour market:

    Michael J. Prince

    Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy

    Faculty of Human and Social Development

    University of Victoria

    [email protected]

    Disabling Poverty and Enabling Citizenship CURA