9th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

"Unusual" employment of persons with disabilities: from words to work

The ILO, together with the Permanent Missions to the UN of Australia, Costa Rica, Finland and Spain, the International Disability Alliance, as well as the UN Global Compact, organized a side event on the employment of persons with disabilities during the 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

News | 22 June 2016
There is an increasing interest among companies in developing countries to promote the employment of persons with disabilities. This welcome interest stands in contrast with the wide held belief that the only option for people with disabilities to have a job in developing countries is through being self-employed, usually in the informal economy. Employment of persons with disabilities is still seen as something "unusual".

Much remains to be done not only to increase the awareness of employers on the advantages of becoming disability-inclusive, but also to ensure that people with disabilities and businesses are provided with the adequate support services to ensure the right to decent work of people with disabilities.

The objectives of the side event were to provide information on different initiatives at global and national levels that seek to promote private sector employment of persons with disabilities, with particular attention to the situation in developing countries.
Furthermore, the side event aimed at promoting collaboration among different stakeholders so that the environmental conditions become more conducive for persons with disabilities to find employment in the private sector.

Participants highlighted that decent work is integrally linked to the reduction of inequalities and the empowerment and voice elevation of persons with disabilities. Decent jobs in the formal economy are currently "unusual" for people with disabilities but have to become usual and common practice. The representative of the UN Global Compact expressed her conviction that the Guide for Business on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that is currently developed in collaboration with the ILO will serve as a useful tool for promoting decent employment of persons with disabilities.

A good practice is the promotion of networks made up of employers and businesses which support sensitizing employers towards the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. An example that was pointed out at the side event is the Zambia Business and Disability Network which also received support from the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.