The Republic of Bulgaria develops legislation that establishes legal guarantees of non- discrimination and pursues a consistent policy for their implementation, also in creating equal opportunities and social inclusion of vulnerable groups in society, including people with disabilities.
Our country has ratified a number of international documents that guarantee the protection and interests of all citizens under its jurisdiction:
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - 2012;
- European Social Charter (revised) - 2000;
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms - 1992;
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - 1970
The Republic of Bulgaria follows the recommendations of the Council of Europe addressed to all governments to actively work in the field of integration of people with disabilities, providing them with employment and more favourable living conditions. Our country also follows the guidelines of the "European Strategy for Persons with Disabilities for the period 2010 – 2020”.
There is a renewed commitment to the document “Europe without barriers” of the European Union.
The Bulgarian government adopted and implements a number of strategic documents and action plans aimed at solving the problems of people with disabilities in the country.
- Strategic and program documents
The National Strategic Reference Framework of Bulgaria (NSRF) is an important fundamental document for socio- economic development and policies in Bulgaria during the second seven- year’s period of the EU membership. It describes the role of the Structural Funds during the period 2014- 2020 in support of the global strategy for the development of Bulgaria. The NSRF provides the main integrated priorities, including the increase of employment.
The Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" (OP "HRD") is a strategic document that sets out the terms and conditions for use of the grant, co- funded by the European Social Fund and the national budget within the program period 2014- 2020. The document is part of the National Strategic Reference Framework. The Operational Programme "HRD" will actively contribute to the implementation of two objectives of the European Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to achieve economic, social and territorial cohesion- "Europe 2020 ". These are the objectives in the field of employment and combating poverty and social exclusion. A key priority on which OP “HRD” focuses its specific targets in the field of unemployment and employment is: the fight against unemployment among vulnerable groups in the labor market.
The most current problems in terms of social exclusion in the country are related to unemployment, low education, low income, access to information and communication, providing an accessible physical environment and transport, especially for people with disabilities, access to culture and sport and to public services (including financial ones).
The number of people with disabilities continues to grow. Therefore, people with disabilities are one of the groups for which the strategy of HRD OP, in its part of support for active inclusion policies, pays the greatest attention.
The strategy of OP HRD provides a targeted support for the replacement of the institutional model of care for the elderly and people with disabilities with thus of community services.
In Bulgaria, people with disabilities either employed, or unemployed can benefit from variety of measures set by OP HRD. SE consultants in Bulgaria might contact representatives (e.g. Case Managers) of local brunches of the National Employment Agency who can explain them and their clients with disabilities the terms and procedures of each measure that is suitable to their case.
In accordance with the National Strategy for Long- term Care, OP HRD will seek to create the conditions for independent and dignified life for the elderly and people with disabilities by improving access to social services and their quality, expanding the network of these services in the country, deinstitutionalization and by encouraging the interaction between health and social services. This will help also to provide a complex support to families that care for people with disabilities and the elderly.
- National Strategy for Equal Opportunities for Disabled People 2008-2015- this document is not actual any more (to 2016) but contains some important aspects regarding the social integration of PwD.
The National Strategy for Equal Opportunities for Disabled People 2008-2015 was developed and adopted in order to create incentives and guarantees for equality of people with disabilities and for their successful realization in the society. It is directly aimed at the integration of people with disabilities and their full social and economic development.
The document contains eight goals and corresponding directions:
- Creation of adapted environment to the needs of persons with disabilities
- Changes in the model of care for children with disabilities placed in specialized institutions to care in a family environment
- Guaranteed access to quality education for people with disabilities
- Comprehensive medical and social rehabilitation
- Expansion of employment opportunities for people with disabilities and their inclusion in various programs to provide suitable jobs.
- Priority development of social services in the community. Development of alternative forms of services.
- Ensuring equal opportunities for sports, recreation, tourism and participation in the cultural life.
- Raising of public awareness about the problems and opportunities of people with disabilities and change of the public attitudes towards them.
The strategy defines the vision of the Government in the field of employment of people with disabilities and outlines concrete measures that need to be implemented in order to ensure conditions for a dignified life for people with disabilities based on their labor rights.
The strategy is based on principles of equality proclaimed in the recommendations of the Council of Europe, the best practices of EU Member States, the principles in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UN Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities.
The main objective of the Strategy is to ensure conditions for the effective exercise of the right of labor realization of people with disabilities as a prerequisite for their best involvement in the public life.
The National Strategy is oriented towards the construction and implementation of a single, coherent and sustainable policy of social inclusion, based on an integrated approach and cross-sectoral cooperation at the national, regional and municipal levels. It indicates the vision, priority areas and actions for the development of policy on poverty and social exclusion in Bulgaria until 2020.
One of the priority target groups are the people with disabilities. In that area the measures under the Employment Promotion Act and the integration of people with disabilities which ensure accessible work environment, continue to be relevant.
Also the subsidizing of employers who have hired people with disabilities will continue and should be ensured.
The National Strategy for Lifelong Learning defines the strategic framework of the government policy on education and training in the period 2014 - 2020, focused on achieving the European goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The main characteristic of the Bulgarian Strategy for Lifelong Learning is the holistic approach, thus covering all areas of learning.
The main objective of the Programme is to increase the employability and provide employment to registered in the Directorate "Labour Office" unemployed people with disabilities.
Here one of the main strategic goals is "Prevention of social exclusion of young people in disadvantaged position".
The program supports the implementation of national policy for the integration of children and young people with disabilities, creating conditions for their involvement in youth activities.
The Labour Code regulates the special protection of disabled persons, the reasons for their vocational rehabilitation, forms and manner of its execution.
An employer with more than 50 employees should determine annually jobs suitable for vocational rehabilitation of disabled workers at 4 to 10% of the total number of employees depending on the sector of the national economy.
Paid annual leave: Employees with recognized disability level 50 and over 50 percent are entitled to paid annual leave of not less than 26 working days (statutory paid leave is 20 days).
Wage: An employee with a recognized disability over 50 percent, which is reassigned for a certain period and at the new workplace receives lower wage than at previous work, is entitled to monetary compensation paid by the National Social Security Institute for the wage gap under the Social Security Code and Regulation for payment of compensations.
As a substantial change in the Civil Servants Act (2008) it is important to indicate the obligation to adopt a number of positions in the State administration for people with disabilities.
There is a special text for people with disabilities in the labor market- to stimulate their demand, hiring and maintenance of employment. For this purpose, there are provided more generous subsidies for hiring or apprenticeship, vocational training, territorial mobility and to start their own business, and also specialized services for labor mediation.
This is the law that in the highest degree is involved in the regulation of social relations arising from the integration of people with disabilities. One of the areas of these relations is the labor market. The Law on Integration of People with Disabilities contains important protection for PwD, according to which the employer is responsible for creating the necessary conditions for employment of these persons. It should ensure the stability of that employment and could be assisted in these efforts by the Agency for People with Disabilities or the Employment Agency.
Specific country aspects- Austria
The Austrian labour law: http://www.advantageaustria.org/zentral/business-guide-oesterreich/investieren-in-oesterreich/arbeit-und-beruf/Austrian_Labour_Law.pdf
National Social report 2014:
Measures to promote integration into employment are oriented towards the personal need for support of people with disabilities. A specific need for support arises from special situations in life, from the person’s age and particular forms of limitation, or from the overlapping of disability and other background situations which may make integration into employment more difficult. In line with disability mainstreaming, people with disabilities have access to all of the measures offered by general labour market policy, and also to the corresponding support. Some disabilities, however, lead to a special need for support in the workplace or on the way to work. As part of the federal government’s employment campaign, the Ministry of Social Affairs Service offers a broad range of support instruments including various project - based and individual subsidies or a combination of the two.
An additional focus is prevention within the framework of the integration of people with disabilities into the labour market, which aims to preserve their ability to work for as long as possible. In the field of project funding, the Occupational Assistance Network (NEBA) with its related services is particularly
worthy of mention. It is the umbrella brand for a very wide – ranging system for the support of people with disabilities and those young people who are marginalised or at risk of marginalisation.
In relation to Ministry of Social Affairs Service target group, NEBA’s offers form an important part of Austrian labour market policy, and as a support structure for everyday working life they play a key role in the equality of people with disabilities and in the fight against poverty and exclusion.
The NEBA programmes youth coaching, vocational training assistance, support in the workplace (work assistance) and job coaching represent – alongside fit for training and personal assistance in the workplace – the heart of the subsidy landscape of the Ministry of Social Affairs Service. Individual subsidies are largely able to compensate for disadvantages due to disabilities and thus enable people with disabilities to participate in the labour market. A new challenge for the subsidy and support policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs Service is the further development and improvement of the protection against discrimination of people with disabilities in the world of work which is laid down in the National Action Plan for Disability. The support policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs Service is designed to make equal treatment and the responsibility of employers into an issue in order to break down existing social barriers and prejudices against the integration of people with disabilities into employment.
https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/5/7/7/CH3839/CMS1459257407020/national-social-report_2014.pdf (page 13)
Specific country aspects- Spain
The Spanish labour law: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2013/12/03/pdfs/BOE-A-2013-12632.pdf
General Law of rights of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion
People with disabilities constitute a sector of heterogeneous population, but they all have in common that, to a greater or lesser extent, require a singled out protection in the exercise of human rights and basic freedoms, due to the specific needs arising from the situation disability and survival of barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
The General Law on rights of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion pdf file. It will open in a new window. It recognizes people with disabilities as holders of a series of rights and public authorities as guarantors of the real and effective exercise of those rights, in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And it establishes the regime of offenses and penalties that guarantee the basic conditions on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities.
This law consolidates, clarifies and harmonizes in a single text, the main laws on disability: Law 13/1982 of April 7, social integration of people with disabilities (LISMI), Law 51/2003, December 2, on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities (LIONDAU), and the Law 49/2007 of 26 December on violations and penalties on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and accessibility universal of people with disabilities. This task has been recast as main reference the aforementioned International Convention.
The standard contains a number of definitions, including direct, indirect discrimination by association and harassment and reinforces the special consideration of multiple discrimination. It is governed by the principles of respect for dignity, independent living, equal opportunities, non-discrimination, universal accessibility, and design for all people, civil dialogue and mainstreaming policies. It is expressly recognized that the exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities is conducted in accordance with the principle of freedom in decision-making, and is protected uniquely girls, children and women with disabilities.
The areas in which this Act applies are telecommunications and information society, urbanized public spaces, infrastructure and construction, transport, goods and services available to the public and relations with public administrations, administration of justice, cultural heritage and employment. Each of these areas is addressed in the implementing rules of the law, which required that all environments, products and services should be open, accessible and usable for all people gradually and progressively it says. For it determines deadlines and timetables in carrying out the necessary adaptations.
It includes a title dedicated to the rights of persons with disabilities who take their protection to all fields, from health protection, to comprehensive care, including education and employment, social protection, to independent living and participation in public affairs.
Regarding the right to education, an inclusive education system ensures, paying attention to the diversity of educational needs of students with disabilities, by regulating the supports and adjustments. More information (ES): http://www.discapnet.es/Castellano/areastematicas/derechos/faqs/Paginas/faq8.aspx
Specific country aspects- Turkey
The Disability legislation in effect consists of approximately 1500 provisions together with other Laws on implementation of Disability Law No. 5378.
The Republic of Turkey was one of the first countries to sign United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that includes measures to facilitate providing persons with disabilities full and equal rights within the scope of anti-discrimination principle. Being the first and only international instrument with binding provisions, UNCRPD was signed by Turkey on 30 March 2007. The Convention was ratified and thus enacted by the cabinet on 27 May 2009. The optional protocol of the Convention was also signed by Turkey and the ratification process is still continued. Since the date of ratification, the Convention has been taken as a basis in disability policy of Turkey.
ARTICLE 30. - In establishments employing fifty or more employees, employers shall employ disabled persons, ex-convicts, and victims of terror - who must be engaged in work in accordance with the annex Article (B) of Act No. 3713 on the Struggle Against Terrorism - , and assign them to jobs consistent with their occupational skills and physical and mental capacities; the ratios to be employed in each category shall be determined by the Council of Ministers in a manner to go into effect at the beginning of January of each year. The total ratio of employees to be employed within the scope of this article is six percent. But the ratio of the disabled shall not be less than half of the total ratio. For employers who have more than one establishment within the boundaries of a province, the number that the employer must employ shall be computed according to the total number of employees.
In determining the number of employees to be employed within the scope of this provision, employees with open-ended and fixed term contracts shall be considered together. Taking their working time into consideration, part-time employees shall be converted into full-time numbers. In the computation of the ratios, fractions up to one half are to be omitted; those above half shall be elevated to one.
Priority in hiring these categories must be given to those who have become disabled or ex-convicts or victims of terror during their previous employment in the establishment.
Employers shall recruit such employees through the Public Employment Organisation of Turkey (Türkiye İş Kurumu).
The nature of employees who shall be employed in the meaning of this clause, the types of jobs in which they may be engaged, the special conditions that will apply to them and their occupational orientation and how they shall be recruited professionally is to be indicated in a regulation which will be issued jointly by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
No disabled person shall be employed in any underground and underwater work, and employees engaged in underground and underwater works shall not be taken into consideration in determining the number of employees according to the provisions mentioned above.
The employer must give priority to applicants who have left his establishment because of disablement but who have later recovered should they wish to resume their old jobs, either immediately if vacant positions are available, or if not, when vacancies occur in their previous jobs or in other corresponding jobs, subject to the prevailing conditions of employment. Should the employer fail to respect his obligation to conclude the said employment contract despite the existence of the above – mentioned requirements, he shall pay his ex-employee making the application a compensation equal to his six months’ wages.
The employment of ex-convicts shall be without prejudice to the provisions concerning services related to public security.
Concerning employers who employ disabled persons, ex-convicts or victims of terror above the quotas designated by the Council of Ministers, or who employ these categories although they are not obligated to do so, or employers employing disabled persons who have lost more than 80 percent of their working capacity, and for each disabled person thus employed; the employer shall pay only fifty percent of the employer’s share of contributions according to Act No. 506 on Social Insurance, and the Treasury shall pay the remaining fifty percent.
In the event of violations of this clause the fines which will be collected according to Article 101 shall be appropriated as income to a special account of the Turkish Employment Organisation (İş-Kur) which will be opened by the Ministry of Finance. The money thus collected in this account shall be transferred to the Turkish Employment Organisation to be spent for the vocational training and rehabilitation of the disabled or for promoting self-employment businesses or similar projects for such people.
The subject matter and amounts of such appropriations shall be decided, under the coordination of the general Directorate of the Turkish Employment Organisation, by a committee to be composed of a representative from the general Directorate of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, General Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety, Directorate of the Administration for the Disabled, General Directorate of Penal and Prison Institutions of the Ministry of Justice, the Confederation of the Disabled of Turkey and top level organisations of labour and employers with the largest membership. The working methods of the committee will be determined by a regulation to be issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
One of the major problems in society is the social and economic deprivation of disabled individuals.
Therefore some affirmative actions are being taken in all countries to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities to be productive and integrated with the society. And the best way of ensuring their employment is imposing obligations on establishments.
Turkey has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled, whose Article 30th lays down the criterions for individual with disabilities and obligation of employing disabled persons is arranged in Labor Law No. 4857, Article 30.
CONDITIONS FOR BEING OBLIGED TO EMPLOY DISABLED
In private sector workplaces employing fifty or more employees within the boundaries of a province, employer must employ disabled persons, numbers of which cannot be less than the %3 of total employees. In calculation of percentage the fractions above half should be increased upward (one) and the ones less than half should not be taken into consideration. For example, in a workplace employing 70 personnel, the number of disabled to be employed should be minimum 70*%3=21, i.e.