Memorandum On Employment for PWDs

Memorandum On Employment for PWDs

 

FOREWORD

 

This memorandum contains the valuable input of members from 24 organizations of, and for, people with disabilities. Organizations that participated represented various disability groups such as the physically disabled, blind, hearing impaired and persons with learning disabilities.

 

In November 2000 at a forum on �Memorandum on the Employment of Malaysians with Disabilities�, 16 disability organization came together with one aim, that is, to help improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In February 2001 at a follow-up workshop on the Memorandum, the participation gathered momentum where 20 organizations attended. By the time the final workshop was called to finalize this memorandum, the total number of organizations had grown to 24.

 

It is our sincere hope that this collaborative effort of ours will bear fruit in the near future. We urge the Ministry of Human Resources and other agencies concerned to lend an empathetic ear to our proposals and recommendations and do the needful to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Malaysia.

 

 

LIST OF NGOs THAT PARTICIPATED IN
PREPARING THE MEMORANDUM

1. Asia Community Service
2. Beautiful Gate Disabled People Caring Centre
3. Bethany Home, Teluk Intan
4. Bivai Special Dogs (For the Disabled)
5. Damai Disabled Peoples� Association
6. Dignity & Services
7. Foundation for Community Studies & Development
8. Independent Living and Training Centre Rawang
9. Kiwanis Job Training Centre
10. Malaysian Association for the Blind
11. Malaysian CARE
12. Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation
13. Malaysian Occupational Therapists Association
14. Malaysian Spinal Injuries Association
15. Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) Kami
16. Persatuan Keluarga Untuk Orang-Orang Bermasalah Pembelajaran
17. Persatuan Orang Cacat Pendengaran, Selangor
18. Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan
19. Pusat Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang, Selangor
20. Pusat Majudiri �Y�, YMCA Kuala Lumpur
21. Society of Chinese Disabled Persons, Malaysia
22. Society of the Blind Malaysia
23. Spastic Children�s� Association of Selangor and Federal Territory
24. St. Paul�s Day Training Centre

EMPLOYMENT OF MALAYSIANS WITH DISABILITIES: REMOVING THE BARRIERS

INTRODUCTION

There are about 220,000 disabled persons in Malaysia with about 95,435 registered with the authorities, but only 3,870 have paid employment. In other words, more than 95% of people with disabilities (PWD) are still unemployed. Although some Malaysians with disabilities may not be able to hold down jobs, a large proportion can still work and contribute to society if given the opportunity and if some workplace modifications are made. It is sad to note that while the government has given jobs to over 2 million foreign workers in Malaysia, they are yet to recognize this huge untapped workforce among PWD.

Malaysians with disabilities now represent a visible, respected and sizable community. While the country is rapidly transforming to meet new challenges of a knowledge-based economy, disabled people are still struggling to obtain basic rights in all areas of life, especially employment. Although various attempts have made some difference, the task ahead continues to be needlessly daunting and will significantly require more resources.

Significant changes are needed in many areas to increase employment opportunities for disabled people in Malaysia. In order to make employment for PWD a reality the following must happen immediately:

� The rights of PWD to employment and the special needs of their circumstances should be taken into account through supportive legislation, strong enforcement and active monitoring
� Physical access to the built environment especially the access to the workplace and within should be free of barriers through suitable modifications
� PWD must be able to acquire knowledge, experience and relevant skills through equal rights to education and vocational training to prepare them for employment
� Negative public perceptions about PWD must be completely removed and they should be given the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes

This memorandum is compiled by PWD and their supporters from 24 NGOs, representing various disabled groups in the country. The following pages contain the difficulties and obstacles they face and measures to be taken to eliminate them.

PHYSICAL BARRIERS

In 1992, amendments made to the Uniform Building By Laws (1984) under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 makes it mandatory for all new buildings to have facilities and amenities for PWD. The Malaysian Standard (MS 1184:91) Code of Practice for Access for Disabled People to Public Buildings is to be incorporated into such buildings. Despite these by-laws, being gazette in every state in Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak, many buildings and places of employment continue to remain out of limits to Malaysians with disabilities and those seeking employment.

Barrier 1:
PWD find public and private buildings inaccessible

These are inaccessible public and private buildings, such as, schools, colleges, offices, factories, shops, and transport and communication systems. These barriers block and lock PWD out and instantly remind them of their difficulties in achieving gainful employment as Malaysian citizens.

Proposal A:
The enforcement of the Uniform Building By-Laws must be emphasized

PWD strongly recommend that the respective local authorities should ensure that such enforcement is duly carried out. The Malaysian Standard (MS 1184:91) Code of Practice for Access for PWD to Public Buildings has stipulated the essential requirements and provisions that need to be incorporated into such buildings.

Proposal B:
Employers should be made aware of this Building By-Laws and refer to it when making workplaces accessible for disabled persons

It is important that the workplace is accessible to the disabled employee. We strongly urge that the government and relevant authorities give their cooperation in ensuring that the Building By-Laws are adhered to and that standards for disable-friendly specifications for access are complied with.

Barrier 2:
PWD find transport and communication systems inaccessible

Public transport is largely inaccessible to PWD, e.g. System Transit Aliran Ringan (STAR), Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) and buses do not have facilities that meet the accessibility requirements of PWD. There is an urgent need to make public transportation systems friendly to PWD.

Proposal A:
The transportation system should be revamped to incorporate facilities for disabled passengers to enable them to get to work

Low floored buses which are wheelchair accessible should be introduced. Adequate designated disabled-friendly parking facilities should also be available for PWD who have their own vehicles.

Proposal B:
Affordable rates for telephone calls and Internet charges

Telephones and the Internet are vital means of communication for most disabled persons. Besides connecting disabled persons to the outside world, information and communications technology (ICT) also enables them to work from home. The present time-based charges for calls are rather inhibiting for disabled persons. The government should revert to the flat-rate charges or a better alternative which will help disabled persons derive maximum benefit from ICT.

SOCIAL BARRIERS

The government must view employment issues of the disabled from a holistic perspective. Employment policies for disabled persons must be intimately linked to other policies including access to public buildings and transportation, education, disability awareness, vocational training, information and communications technology and infrastructure development.

Barrier 1:
PWD lack employment opportunities

PWD face a daunting task when they try to find employment. They have to not only manage the hardships they face as a result of their disability, but also have to compete with able-bodied workers who are recent school and college graduates and those who have been affected by the recent economic downturn.

Many employers are reluctant to hire the services of PWD even though they may possess the necessary skills and qualification for the job. Employers fear increased health insurance costs; the need to provide reasonable but possibly expensive accommodations; and the perceived need to deal with adverse reactions by customers, co-workers, and supervisors, who might be uncomfortable being around PWD.

Proposal A:
Insurance companies should provide adequate and proper medical coverage for workers with disabilities, without discrimination

This involves no extra loading on insurance coverage for PWD. The unnecessary fear of employers that they would face increased health insurance costs, would be alleviated by the above proposal. The other fears and competitive realities are addressed in the following proposals.

Proposal B:
Awareness to be promoted among employers regarding the tax incentives for hiring PWD

The government should highlight currently existing incentives such as double tax deduction for employing the disabled, tax relief on expenses incurred in training and providing modifications to the workplace. This information should be disseminated to the various agencies such as the Ministry of Human Resources, local Labour Department as well as the Malaysian Employer�s Federation.

Proposal C:
Institute a tax credit for disability expenses

The government should enact tax credits for employers that conduct disability training for all personnel within the organization. The credit should be available only for 1 year after its establishment. This brief availability period would encourage employers to move quickly toward supporting disability awareness and a new focus on employing individuals with disabilities. The training should be conducted preferably by PWD. The government to reimburse the employers for expenses involved in providing the employees with professional services of sign interpreters for the deaf, free materials in alternative forms for the blind.

Proposal D:
The government should take steps to promote the employment of PWD in both the government and private sectors

 Increase job training programs 
 Make available widespread information on qualified applicants
 Create programs to make employers aware of NGOs agencies which have disabled applicants
 Encourage disabled people to apply for positions
 Include the phrase �people with disabilities are encouraged to apply� in job advertisements
 PWD to be included in the major decision making bodies

Barrier 2:
PWD have inadequate or no access to basic and advanced vocational training facilities

The existing vocational training facilities run by government and non-government organizations are insufficient to meet the training needs of the disabled population. There is an increasing need for more training courses that provide skills which are more relevant in terms of employment opportunities.

Proposal A:
The ministry should encourage and support PWD to enable them to start and manage their own business and to be independent business owners

For this to be effective and viable the Ministry must look into the following:

� PWD should have access to low interest loans or grants to encourage them to set up their own businesses in order in order to become self-reliant
� Special training and financial grants must be made available to those PWD who want to work from their own homes or venture out as teleworkers
� New employment opportunities should be identified and created in formal and non-formal sectors, including the cooperatives and self-employment schemes
� Vending stands made available and prioritized in shopping complexes, hawker centers, pasar malam and pasar pagi venues, cinemas, sport complexes and schools

Proposal B:
Encourage and support disability organizations by funding approved employment support facilities and programs.

Services provided by disability organizations are not necessarily employment focused. The Ministry of Human Resources should identify disability organizations with some expertise in employment training, support and assist in the establishing of such training facilities and encourage other organizations to venture into employment training.

Barrier 3:
Absence of a centralized agency to provide employment counseling services as well as conducting placement activities for PWD

PWD have very limited or no access at all to services and support they need to adequately prepare for, find and maintain employment or be self-employed. If they have access to information about training programs, employment counseling, adaptive equipment and transportation, and in some cases, resources needed to start their own businesses, then more PWD will be able to enter the workforce.

The government should establish a special department within the Ministry of Human Resources to handle job placements for PWD. This Department will provide a centralized, consistent focus to critical disability employment issues. This initiative will heighten disability employment issues within the Ministry of Human Resources. It will provide disability employment advocates the opportunity to network and work together for full inclusion of PWD.

Proposal A:
The government should establish and support the development of special department within the Ministry of Human Resources to oversee employment matters for PWD

The special department on employment for PWD should be established to disseminate information about innovative or �cutting edge� employment strategies. It should work closely with the Ministry of Human Resources, the Committee for the Encouragement of Employment of the Disabled in the Private Sector, the National Coordinating Council for Disabled Persons and the Ministry of National Unity & Social Development.

This department must be staffed by suitably trained personnel and its functions should include:
� Job analysis
� Job restructuring
� Dissemination of current information on employment strategies
� Vocational evaluation and education
� Job development and placement
� Providing specialized assistance and continued support to all employers with particular reference to recruitment, training, morale building and career development of PWD as well as job orientation to disabled employment seekers
� Conducting regular disability and employment awareness campaigns for the public as well as employers
� Undertaking research study related to employment and disability
� Promoting employment opportunities for Malaysians with disabilities

A quarterly meeting of disability organizations with the special department Committee for the Encouragement of Employment of the Disabled should be organized by the Placement Officer for consultation and to look into the promotion of employment for PWD.

Proposal B:
The special department should work closely with the National Coordinating Council for Disabled Persons and they should together oversee employment matters of PWD

The joint functions of the special department and the Council should include the following:
� To promote employment opportunities for Malaysians with disabilities
� To liaise with employers, cooperate bodies and other organizations to address and correct public prejudices and misconceptions regarding employment of PWD
� To investigate cases of job discrimination and seek appropriate redress

Proposal C:
Job Placement officers should include PWD

PWD, where possible, should be recruited as Job Placement Officers. Knowledge and experience working with different disability groups is an added advantage. They should have an assistant with full training support. The functions of the Job Placement Officers should complement the functions of the special department within the Ministry of Human Resources to oversee employment matters for workers with disabilities.

Proposal D:
Provide access to employment counseling

The Ministry of Human Resources must set aside funds to establish employment or vocational counseling services nationwide and ensure that all disabled applicants are referred to such services when they make application for jobs.

Employment counselors should explain to applicants about the incentives associated with disabled employees and inform applicants of the vocational training and other support that are available to them. Employment counselors should be part of organizations and have expertise in the area of employment of the disabled.

Barrier 4:
Lack of community and family support for PWD seeking employment opportunities

If community support employment programs are made available, a large number of severely disabled persons including those with learning disabilities could return to the community and become gainfully employed. These will include those residing in residential facilities as well. The term �support employment� means paid employment for persons with severe disabilities for whom competitive employment at or above the minimum wage without support is unlikely, and who, because of their disabilities, need intensive ongoing support to perform in a work setting.

Proposal A:
The Ministry of Human Resources should introduce programs of support employment for persons with learning disabilities and severely disabled persons who can be employed with the assistant of such programs. Examples of these programs are the �buddy system� and the �community supported transport�

The �Buddy System� is based on the idea where a person with learning disability is linked to one or more fellow work colleagues within the employment setting. These persons act as mentors to whom the individual can go to for friendship, advice, support and learning skills. This becomes a two way process where both parties learn from each other which helps the person with a disability settle within the employment setting and solve problems in a discreet way. Potential employers will need to be trained to understand the concept. This should be applied in creative ways in order to help the individual with learning disabilities integrate successfully into the work setting.

�Community Supported Transport� � Support should be offered by the family and service providers for individuals to learn travel skills. However, for individuals who are not able to do this community supported transportation should be provided. Financial support should be offered for projects which provide a subsidized taxi service for individuals with disabilities to get to and from work.

ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS

Barrier 1:
Continued public prejudices and misconceptions about employing PWD

Proposal A:
Advertisements and documentaries depicting PWD in employment must be carried in our media regularly

Documentaries should feature key disability leaders, employers of PWD, and disability activists focusing on the positive side of disability employment. Exemplary workers should be filmed and featured. Problem solving views from PWD should be aired. PWD should be involved in writing the script and care should be taken about correct usage of terminologies pertaining to PWD. Wheelchair users, deaf, blind and people with learning disabilities should be featured in regular advertisements depicting them as employees with disabilities.

Incentives could be given to advertisers who portray PWD in a positive manner. However, such advertisements should be vetted by PWD before being aired to avoid possible misinterpretation and abuse.

Barrier 2:
Discriminatory attitudes of employers

Proposal A:
Workers with disabilities who are subjected to discrimination at the work place

The existing measures to protect workers such as the sexual harassment code and the various provisions in the Employment Act to protect workers must equally apply to PWD. 

Barrier 3:
Lack of information, disability awareness and adequate support and incentives for employers

Proposal A:
Disability employment awareness should be promoted regularly to increase employment opportunities for PWD

Awareness campaigns should be carried out by both the government and private sectors to enable more PWD to get jobs.

Proposal B:
Provide access to information on employment opportunities

The Ministry�s website should also incorporate information about employment opportunities for PWD, disabled-friendly companies and information for and about employers. Such information should be announced in their newsletter. This information should be disseminated through the media, both print and electronic.

INSTITUTIONAL & LEGISLATIVE BARRIERS

Various initiatives were launched since the beginning of the United Nations Decade of PWD (1983-1992) and the Asian and Pacific Decade of PWD (1993-2002). Our government pledged its commitment to improve the lives of PWD by signing the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of PWD in the Asian and Pacific Region in 1994. Despite this, to this day PWD in Malaysia are still being excluded and marginalized as a result of physical, social and attitudinal barriers.

Barrier 1:
The government has yet to fully honor the various initiatives, both national and international, on the �full participation and equality of PWD�

The government in 1989 committed to reserve 1% of jobs for PWD. In 1990 a National Committee for the Encouragement of Employment of PWD in the private sector was set up. A decade later, despite various incentives such as doubled tax deduction for the employment of disabled workers in the private sector, there has been no significant change. Even the public sector has not set an example in this regard. 

Proposal A:
The government should ensure that the public sector set an example in implementing the 1% quota for PWD

To facilitate the implementation of the 1% employment policy the Ministry of Human Resources should reserve a sizeable number of jobs for PWD.

Proposal B:
Implementation of the 1% employment quota for PWD to be enforced and incentives must be given to those who do

Information about companies that have fulfilled this requirement must be made known to the public on a regular basis. Others must be educated on its implementation. The following incentives for successful implementation of the quota should be considered:

� A special fund, either from the Human Resources Development Fund or other sources must be set up to reimburse employers to make adaptations to their workplace for disabled workers
� Government tenders should be awarded to companies that have employed disabled workers, as an incentive to others
� An annual award (private and public sectors, separately) should be given to the organization which has offered the best equal employment opportunities for PWD
� Instead of imposing a fine for not employing PWD, it is suggested that they pay a certain sum to facilitate supported employment projects for PWD run by NGOs. In order enforce this perhaps all employers should be required to declare their position in their annual tax return forms.

Proposal C:
Policies and guidelines on the employment of PWD should be clearly documented, made public and copies of documents should be sent to all disability organizations in Malaysia

The Job Placement Officer at the Ministry of Human Resources (when appointed) should be in contact with all disability organizations and must ensure that all information on policies and guidelines on employment of disabled persons are well communicated to all of them. This information should also be made available to all employers through the Ministry of Human Resources through their courses or seminars for employers organized by the Ministry.

Proposal D:
A monitoring group to be established by the Ministry of Human Resources to oversee the implementation process and progress

This group should comprise selected representatives from disability organizations, the special department within the Ministry of Human Resources, National Coordinating Council for Disabled Persons, and members of the public. This group must meet at least twice a year and the findings must be made public.

Barrier 2:
Potential loss of invalidity pension under the Employee�s Social Security Act

Invalidity is defined in the Act as being �incapable of engaging in any substantial gainful activity�. A recipient of invalidity pension loses his eligibility if he engages in any employment. Most of the workers who are permanently disabled but are capable of working end up being recipients of invalidity pensions because they do not have recourse to proper facilities for physical vocational rehabilitation, as provided for in the Act.

Proposal A:
The government should ensure that PWD do not lose eligibility because they work

The invalidity pension scheme should be reviewed. The pensions should be paid in accordance with the degree of disability. Retraining and vocational rehabilitation facilities should be upgraded with the use of assistive and technological aids to enable the disabled worker to return to his job or be gainfully employed elsewhere.

Barrier 3:
Absence of a legislation to safeguard the rights of PWD10

PWD are greatly disadvantaged by the lack of national policies and legislation needed to create an environment that would bring about their empowerment in terms of equal opportunities and full meaningful participation in society.

Proposal A:
The Ministry of Human Resources should review the Employment Act and make suitable amendments to provide PWD a right to employment

Ideally a �Malaysians with Disabilities Act� will lay the foundation for the legal endorsement to the rights of PWD for access to education and vocational training, employment, public transportation, barrier-free environment, information and communications technology and integrated living. While this is being debated, the existing Employment Act should incorporate the fundamental principles of full participation and equality of every Malaysian with disabilities.

Proposal B:
The Employment Act should incorporate provisions for part-time work and telework

The government should consider introducing part-time work as this is most suitable for certain categories of disabled persons. With the advent of ICT, new opportunities are now open to PWD to work from home.

Proposal C:
Ratification of the International Labour Organization Convention No.159, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention 1983

CONCLUSION

It is a fact that employment is a major concern for PWD in Malaysia. PWD want to work and become economically self-reliant, and in the long run contribute towards the economic development of the country. Economic self-reliance helps restore dignity in a disabled person, as he is able to make independent choices and decisions. Currently many PWD who are capable of working remain unemployed because of the many obstacles they face in society in terms of physical, social, attitudinal and legislative barriers.

We hope the proposals contained in this memorandum will receive due attention. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Human Resources and other relevant agencies as we seek to provide a conductive environment and empower all Malaysians with disabilities to achieve economic self-reliance, independent living, inclusion and integration into every aspect of society

Appendix I

Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of
PWD in the Asian and Pacific Region

1. We the government leaders of ESCAP members and associate members recognize that:
� Every day in this region people are being disabled due to malnutrition and diseases, environmental hazards, natural disasters, traffic and industrial accidents, civil conflict and war.
� As a concomitant of improvement in child survival, the numbers of children surviving with disabilities are increasing.
� As more people survive to older age, the numbers of elderly people with disabilities are rising.
� The living conditions of large numbers of PWD, especially those in rural areas, need to be further improved.

2. We note that in Asian and Pacific societies minimum care and service are, to a large extent, provided for PWD in the traditional family and community context. However, much more must be done to enable PWD to develop their Full potential so that they may live as agents of their own destiny in the rapidly changing economic and social conditions of the region.

3. Throughout the region, the opportunities for full participation and equality for PWD, especially in the fields of rehabilitation, education and employment, continue to be far less than those for their non-disabled peers. This is largely because negative social attitudes exclude PWD from an equal share in their entitlements as citizens. Such attitudes also curtail the opportunities of PWD for social contact and close personal relationships with others. The social stigma associated all too often with disabilities must be eradicated.

4. The built environment throughout much of Asia and the Pacific has been designed without consideration for the special needs of PWD. Physical obstacles and social barriers prevent citizens with disabilities from participating in community and national life. The various impediments to participation and equality are especially formidable for girls and women with disabilities. With improved attitudes, increased awareness and much care, we can build social and physical environments that are accessible for all, i.e., we must work towards a society for all. In this regard, we urge the free exchange of information.

5. We take pride in the fact that in economic terms, Asia and the Pacific is the fastest growing region in the world today. We are also aware that countries in this region are at different levels of development. We resolve that economic progress will also be reflected in the efforts that we devote to this extremely vulnerable social group in our societies: PWD.

6. We welcome the adoption by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific of Resolution 48/3 on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, as a catalyst for effective new policy initiatives and actions at national, sub-regional and regional levels aimed at systematically improving the conditions of PWD, who constitute approximately one-tenth of our total population, and for harnessing their full development potential.

7. We thus proclaim and pledge our joint commitment to translating into action in our respective countries and territories the ideals and objectives of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, and confirm our continued endeavor in accordance with the United Nations Charter�s affirmation of faith ��in the dignity and worth of the human person�� 

Appendix II

Under the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, twelve areas of concerned have been identified. A framework for the formation of the agenda has been drawn up. The framework consists of the major policy categories under which efforts will be required for the implementation of ESCAP resolution 48/3. The basic policy categories include national coordination, legislation, information, public awareness, accessibility and communication, education, training and employment, prevention of causes of disabilities, rehabilitation services, assistive devices, self-help organizations and regional co-operation.

Training and Employment:
a) Use of relevant international labour standards on the vocational rehabilitation and employment of PWD as a guide and reference for the development and implementation of training and employment programs;
b) Special attention to the participation of girls and women with disabilities in training and employment opportunities;
c) Development of pre-vocational training, including at middle and secondary school level, to give girls and boys with disabilities the necessary preparation, if they so choose, for subsequent vocational training and placement;
d) Ensuring the:
 Quality of vocational training programs in terms of their relevance and sufficiency in preparing PWD for gainful employment in the labour market;
 Overall functioning of job placement services for PWD in order to place PWD in suitable jobs in the open labour market;
e) Conduct of workshops and seminars involving workers, employers, representatives of co-operatives and NGOs including organizations of PWD, as well as other community leaders to:
 Identify new training and employment opportunities for PWD;
 Encourage job adaptation and work-site adjustment;
 Develop training and employment schemes for PWD;
f) Strengthening of vocational rehabilitation services through measures that, inter alia, emphasize:
 Training of vocational rehabilitation staff;
 Giving of due attention, through appropriate vocational assessment measures, to the interests and needs of PWD in the planning of vocational rehabilitation services;
 Upgrading of the skills of job placement officers in ministries of labour and social affairs and rehabilitation centers for job identification, selection, recruitment, placement and follow-up concerning PWD;

g) Training of PWD:
 To develop their self-confidence, mobility, as well as skills in business management, and use of advisory services;
 For gainful employment;
 On ways and means of searching for employment in their communities, including preparation for interviews with prospective employers;
 In mainstream human resource development facilities, whenever possible and appropriate;
h) Support for business PWD through measures such as the:
 Identification of opportunities for the production of goods and services that are in high demand, taking into consideration the compatibility of those with the skills and interest of the persons concerned;
 Conduct of feasibility surveys to ensure the viability of such business;
 Provision of such business advice, facilitation of access to loans and other resources from poverty alleviation schemes, as well as follow-up, with special emphasis on meeting the needs of rural-based PWD;
i) Support for the establishment and development of cooperatives that facilitate the equal participation of PWD in their activities.

Appendix III
C159 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
(Disabled Persons) Convention 1983

This documentation is courtesy of the International Lab our Organization.

Convention concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) (Note: Date of coming into force: 20.06.1985.)

Description: (Convention)
CONVENTION: C159
PLACE: Geneva
CONFERENCE SESSION: 69
ADOPTION: 20.06.1983

The General Conference of the International Lab our Organization.

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Lab our Office and having met in its Sixty-ninth Session on 1st June 1983, and

Noting the existing international standards contained in the Vocational Rehabilitation (Disabled) Recommendation, 1955, and the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975, and

Considering that the year 1981 was declared by the United Nations General Assembly the International Year of Disabled Persons, with the theme �full participation and equality� and that a comprehensive World Program of Action concerning Disabled Persons is to provide effective measures at the international and national levels for the realization of the goals of full participation of disabled persons in social life and development, and of equality, and

Considering that these developments have made it appropriate to adopt new international standards on the subject which take account, in particular, of the need to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment to all categories of disabled persons, in both rural and urban areas, for employment and integration into the community, and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to vocational rehabilitation which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and

Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of the international Convention, adopts the 20th June 1983, the following Convention, which may be cited as the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention 1983.
Part I: Definition and Scope

Article 1
1. For the purpose of this Convention, the term �disabled person� means an individual whose prospects of securing, retaining and advancing in suitable employment are substantially reduced as a result of a duly recognized physical or mental impairment.
2. For the purpose of this Convention, each member shall consider the purpose of vocational rehabilitation as being to a disabled person to secure, retain and advance in suitable employment and thereby to further such person�s integration or reintegration into society.
3. The provisions of this Convention shall be applied by each member through measures which are appropriate to national conditions and consistent with national practice.
4. The provisions of this Convention shall apply to all categories of disabled persons.

Part II. Principles of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Policies for Disabled Persons

Article 2
Each member shall, in accordance with national conditions, practice and possibilities, formulate, implement and periodically review a national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons.

Article 3
The said policy shall aim at ensuring that appropriate vocational rehabilitation measures are made available to all categories of disabled persons, and at promoting employment opportunities for disabled persons in the open lab our market.

Article 4
The said policy shall be based on the principle of equal opportunity between disabled workers and workers generally. Equality of opportunity and treatment for disabled men and women workers shall be respected. Special positive measures aimed at effective equality of opportunity and treatment between disabled workers and other workers shall not be regarded as discriminating against other workers.

Article 5
The representative organizations of employers and workers shall be consulted on the implementation of the said policy, including the measures to be taken to promote co-operation and co-ordination between the public and private bodies engaged in vocational rehabilitation activities. The representative organizations of and for disabled persons shall also be consulted.

Part III. Action at the National Level for the Development of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services for Disabled Persons

Article 6
Each member shall, by laws or regulations or by any other method consistent with national conditions and practice, take such steps as may be necessary to give effect to Article 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this Convention.

Article 7
The competent authorities shall take measures with a view to providing and evaluating vocational guidance, vocational training, placement, employment and other related services to enable disabled persons to secure, retain, and advance in employment; existing services for workers generally shall, wherever possible and appropriate, be used with necessary adaptations.

Article 8
Measures shall be taken to promote the establishment and development of vocational rehabilitation and employment services for disabled persons in rural areas and remote communities.

Article 9
Each member shall aim at ensuring the training and availability of rehabilitation counselors and other suitably qualified staff responsible for the vocational guidance, vocational training, placement and employment of disabled persons.

PART IV. PROVISIONS

Article 10
The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Lab our Office for registration.

Article 11
1. This Convention shall be binding only upon those members of the International Lab our Organization whose ratifications have been registered with the Director-General.
2. It shall come into force 12 months after the date on which the ratifications of two members have been registered with the Director-General.
3. Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any member twelve months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.

Article 12
1. A member who has ratified this Convention may denounce it after the expiration of 10 years from the date on which the Convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the Director-General of the International Lab our Office for registration. Such denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.
2. Each member which has ratified this Convention and which does not, within the year following the expiration of the period of 10 years mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of denunciation provided for in this Article, will be bound for another period of 10 years and, thereafter, may denounce this Convention at the expiration of each period of 10 years under the terms provided for in this Article.

Article 13
1. The Director-General of the International Lab our Office shall notify all members of the International Lab our Organization of the registration of all ratifications and denunciations communicated to him by the member of the organization.
2. When notifying the members of the organization of the registration of the second ratification communicated to him, the Director-General shall draw the attention of the members of the organization to the date upon which the Convention will come into force.

Article 14
The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations full particulars of all ratifications and act of denunciation registered by him in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Articles.

Article 15
At such times as it may consider necessary the Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall present to the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and shall examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of its revision in whole or in part.

Article 16
1. Should the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides-
a) the ratification by a member of the new revising Convention shall ipso jure involve the immediate denunciation of this Convention, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 12 above, if and when the new revising Convention shall have come into force;
b) as from the date when the new revising Convention comes into force this Convention shall cease to be open to ratification by the members.
2. This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form and content for those members which have ratified it but have not ratified the revising Convention

Article 17
The English and French versions of the text of this Convention are equally authoritative.