Volume 1

Promoting Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities: Quota Schemes (Vol. 1)

Employment quotas represent one of the most frequently used policy measures to promote work opportunities for persons with disabilities. Slightly over 100 countries around the world currently provide for employment quotas in their national legislation. While some countries have had employment quotas for many decades, others have introduced them recently, revised them or are planning to introduce them. There is no standard approach. Quotas vary from country to country in terms of the level of the percentage obligation, the size of company covered, whether they apply to public and private sector employers, how compliance is monitored and what measures apply in the case of non-compliance.

In the past, quotas have been the subject of considerable controversy about whether they represent a valid policy option, or whether they reinforce negative stereotypes about the working capacity of persons with disabilities. The review reported here points to an emerging trend, with quotas being seen as a form of affirmative action in the framework of anti-discrimination legislation. In this context, they are compatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and with the earlier ILO Convention on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons (C. No. 159) of 1983. In view of this trend, having an updated picture of employment quotas in place in different countries and of the details of these quotas is of strategic relevance for governments and policy makers that are creating or revising a quota scheme, for global companies as well as for national business and disability networks and for Disabled Persons Organizations in their advocacy work. The updated picture is provided in two separate volumes. This document (Volume 1) summarizes published information on quota schemes, to highlight elements of existing systems that are effective in promoting employment opportunities and making recommendations for approaches to take in introducing new systems or revising existing systems. In a further publication (Volume 2), an overview is provided of quota schemes by country and the extent to which quota schemes are in place alongside anti-discrimination legislation.