Article 27 of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities puts an obligation on state members to safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work. Among the appropriate steps, including through legislation, that indicates to member states is to employ persons with disabilities in the public sector. In addition, the EU Directive 2000/78/EC promotes positive actions to this direction and indicates that the principle of equal treatment shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or adopting specific measures to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to disability.
In this context, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance in Cyprus promoted the approval by the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives and introduction as from 23.12.2009 of a new law called “The Law for the Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities in the Wider Public Sector, L.146(I)/2009”. The Law regulates a quota system in all recruitment processes followed in the public service, the educational service, semi government organizations and local authorities, where persons with disabilities who fulfill specific objective criteria (having the qualifications required for the post, achieving at any required written or oral examination and be assessed as suitable for the exercise of the duties of the post) can be recruited at a quota of 10% of vacant posts.
The Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Cyprus, is a new department established as from 1.1.2009, under the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance with the mission to create new prospects for social inclusion of persons with disabilities by the design, coordination and implementation of reformatory actions. Among the aims of the Department is the adoption of positive measures for supporting persons with disabilities to enjoy their right for employment.
The Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities was responsible for the preparation and promotion of the bill of the new Law 146(I)/2009 and coordinated the work of a technical committee with the participation of representatives of the state services involved in recruitments as well as representatives of the Pancyprian Confederation of Disabled Persons Organisations. The Department is now responsible for the monitoring of the implementation of the Law which in its two years of implementation has led to the recruitment of an important number of persons with disabilities in the public sector.
A further reformatory tool that the Department promotes that will enhance the implementation of the new Law and will generally act as a platform for further supporting measures for social inclusion of persons with disabilities is a new System for the Assessment of Disability and Functioning. This project is under progress and is co-financed by the European Social Fund. It is designed on the basis of the International Classification for Functioning, Disability and Health issued by the World Health Organisation and it will provide through assessment centers, assessment reports by multidisciplinary committees on the needs and capabilities of persons with disabilities indicating the necessary interventions needed (including vocational training and employment) to support the person in being and staying included in social and economic life.
Nicosia, Cyprus, 16 March 2012
Disclosure of Interest None Declared