Inclusive employment for persons with disabilities discussed in a multi-faceted way at the workshop with public, private sector and social partners

At the "Strengthening Employment for People with Disabilities: Collaborative Solutions Workshop" organized by the ILO Office in Turkey, participants discussed the employment of persons with disabilities from a multidimensional perspective based on the principles of diversity and inclusion. They exchanged views and information on overcoming the challenges on the inclusive employment.

News | 28 March 2024
ILO News (Ankara) - ILO Office for Türkiye organized a workshop entitled "Strengthening Employment for People with Disabilities: Workshop on Collaborative Solutions" on 27 March 2024 in Ankara. Organized as part of the wider project on Promoting Decent Work for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens, the workshop convened 44 dedicated experts as well as academics from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of Family and Social Services, Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR), Social Security Institution (SGK), United Nations agencies UN Women and IOM, Turkish Bar Association, Bursa Yıldırım Municipality, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and Istanbul University, Başkent University, Maltepe University, Istanbul Galata University and Atılım University, as well as the Turkish Confederation of Employers' Associations (TISK), Representatives from the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Türkiye (DISK), the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (HAK-IS), Sahim Sen Health Services Union, the Confederation of People with Disabilities of Turkey, Tohum Autism Foundation, Down Syndrome Association of Turkey, Association of Social Workers, Supported Employment Association, Association of Women with Disabilities, Ankara Federation of People with Disabilities’ Rights, Engelsiz Kariyer, Headline Diversity, Erişilebilir Herşey and Eker and private sector representatives, among others.

Güler Koca, Diversity and Inclusion Expert at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva, who connected online, shared information on the ILO's normative framework and approach on disability inclusion. She gave detailed information on ILO conventions and standards and international conventions on the working rights of persons with disabilities. Participants showed great interest in the section of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, whose 8th goal is "access to full and productive employment and decent work for all men and women, including persons with disabilities, and equal pay for equal work”. Koca said, "Disability is not about a person's medical condition, but about their environment. The environment prevents us from accessing certain services and creates barriers".

Emily Harwit, ILO Office for Türkiye Project Manager, said: "Inclusive employment is an essential element of decent work. We are here today to discuss what we can do for this with all decision-makers, implementers and those affected by these decisions."

Çiğdem Altunok, ILO Office for Türkiye Technical Officer for Refugees said: "The diversity of the institutions and organizations we gathered here today, will help us to discuss collaborative solutions to eliminate the challenges faced by persons with disabilities to access to formal employment. It will also play a key role in providing a multifaceted and inclusive perspective”.

During the event, group discussions were organized to facilitate in-depth discussions on a number of key topics. The discussions were about: legislative arrangements, employment policies and incentive; reasonable accommodation and accessibility; social awareness and perception; as well as training, capacity and skills development were then presented in the main group session. Following the workshop, the ILO will collect all inputs and suggestions and prepare a joint note from the attendees.

Özgecan Zengin, Industrial Relations and Projects Coordinator at TISK, said: "We think that the quota regulation should be reviewed in line with the businesses lines”.

DISK GENEL IS Press, Publications and Public Relations Manager Çağdaş Küpeli said, "The majority of enterprises in Türkiye employ less than 50 employees and are not subject to the 3 percent quota. For this reason, serious legislative changes are needed for the employment of people with disabilities. There are implementation deficiencies in filling the quotas. Ensuring unionization is also very important in defending the rights of disabled employees”.

Highlighting that there is a long way to go from the publication of the job announcement to the orientation process of the person to be employed, in order to meet the accessibility needs and creating a common perception on this issue, Seben Ayşe Dayı, co-founder of the NGO Erisilebilir Hersey said: "As non-governmental organizations, we have been working in this field for many years. However, thanks to this ILO workshop, we had the opportunity to come together with all effective parties on the employment of people with disabilities and make our voices heard. Maybe two years from today, when a new law or regulation will be passed, we will say that we talked about these things at the ILO workshop and maybe we had an impact”.

The information note to be prepared as a result of the workshop will be published in the coming months and will be presented to the relevant units of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. In addition, the ILO Office for Türkiye will organize trainings for people with disabilities and employers who are willing to employ people with disabilities in Ankara, Adana and Gaziantep starting in May.