RI Global Position Paper: Ten golden principles of including persons with disabilities in the competitive labor market

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The following principles, based on a survey among members of Rehabilitation International (RI), underline existing international experiences and practices. They should be included in policy decisions by all the relevant stakeholders in rehabilitation, including policy makers in the areas of social security, persons with disabilities (pwd), private and public enterprises, professionals and practitioners operating in vocational fields.

1) Preventive measures for job retention and return-to-work avoid the challenges employees with disabilities face in working life. Suitable occupational health and safety regulation could support this early intervention goal.

2) During sick leave, rehabilitation management should begin timely, on the enterprise level and in social security institutions using appropriate job coaches who realize the needs of pwd.

3) Statutory obligations for employers to employ a specific number of pwd (target system) should be combined with an effective bonus-malus system. Enterprises should either pay or be supported by the target fund.

4) Providing vocational rehabilitation benefits in social security law increases the engagement of enterprises that employ pwd. These benefits include workplace accommodation, assistive devices, wage subsidies and/or reduced taxes.

5) Funds for evidence-based capacity building education including training on the job or in retraining centers empower pwd too keep or enrich their individual working skills to fit employer demands and interests.

6) Awards and recognition for good practice in private and public enterprises ensure that innovative and successful models could be published and copied by other enterprises on the national and international level.

7) Professionals who assist jobseekers with disabilities should use suitable language. Conversation tools should be combined with disability-specific and proactive job coaching concepts.

8) Short-term employment or internships of jobseekers with disabilities assist the productivity of pwd.

9) Job coaches or disability

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managers need evidence-based skills, including certificates for qualification and quality assurance reviews based on international standards and consensus of the state and social partners.

10) Research on appropriate and

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effective tools to get and keep more pwd into the competitive labor market should be initiated and financed by international organizations in cooperation with Rehabilitation International. Research results must be transferred into practice.

These guidelines highlight good practices for countries which want to increase the number of paid jobs for pwd. This framework does not intend to make any prediction of the value of sheltered workshops for individual pwd.

RI Executive Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, 13 April 2014

Download this position paper (.doc)

RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.

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