GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Office (ILO) and its InFocus Programme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability (IFP/SKILLS) have organized a Tripartite Meeting of Experts, 3-12 October 2001, to finalize and adopt the Code of Practice on the Management of Disability at the Workplace.
Unemployment among the world's 386 million disabled people of working age is far higher than for other working age individuals, with rates of up to 80 per cent reported in some countries. "Many people with disabilities can and want to work, yet they are frequently excluded", said IFP/SKILLS Director Pekka Aro. "As a result, many disabled people live in poverty and their potential contribution is lost - to their families, to employers and to society as a whole."
Reasons for high unemployment among people with disabilities include: lack of access to education or training in employable skills, assumptions by employers that people with disabilities are unable to work; unavailable support services and lack of supportive legislation and policies.
The ILO Code of Practice looks at practices which will effectively enable people with disabilities to integrate into the workplace. It is designed to provide guidance in the management of disability issues which may arise in recruitment, employment, advancement, job retention and return to work for people with disabilities. It targets private and public sector employers in countries which have already developed policies for the management of disability issues in the workplace and those which are formulating policy in this field for the first time. It will also be of relevance to workers' and workers' organizations, in their role as advocates and to governments as shapers of legislation and policy, and as providers of employment-related services.
The Code draws on the 'social model' of disability which focuses on constraints faced by people with disabilities, arising from social political, economic and cultural factors. Key points underlying the Code are that, with the right skills, in the right job, with supports if required, people with disabilities are capable and reliable employees, an asset to their employers; and that managing disability issues in the workplace can be in the business interest of employers, leading to savings in terms of time lost, insurance and health care payments and cost of recruiting and retraining replacement staff.
Experts from the following countries will attend the meeting: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, France, Hungary, Ireland and South Africa. The Employers' Group will be represented by experts from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malawi, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States. The Workers' will send representation from Canada, Sweden, Colombia, Ghana, Jamaica, Senegal, India and Malaysia.
For information on the Tripartite Meeting, please contact: Susan Parker, IFP/SKILLS, phone: +4122/799-7862 (email@example.com) or Barbara Murray, IFP/SKILLS, phone: +4122/799-6376 (firstname.lastname@example.org).