Monitoring Report on State Employment Programs for PWDs
On April 20, 2018, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria presented a monitoring report on the state employment programs intended for persons with disabilities.
At the opening of the event, the Public Defender briefly reviewed the situation of the protection and implementation of the right of persons with disabilities to work. According to her, the low statistical indicator of the employment of persons with disabilities and the survey results clearly refer to the the challenges in the field. The Public Defender talked about the need for strengthening public awareness campaigns and underlined the importance of increasing the motivation of persons with disabilities as well as their awareness of the employment services and programs offered by the state.
The Public Defender's special report evaluates and analyzes the current normative base, including three state programs approved by the Government's decree, as well as information received from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and LEPL Social Service Agency. The document also includes the results of the meetings held with persons with disabilities in various cities of Georgia.
As a result of the monitoring, the Department of Protection of the Rights of Persons of Disabilities of the Public Defender's Office proved that despite the state's declared will - to ensure employment of persons with disabilities and the existence of a number of programs, the right of persons with disabilities to work cannot be properly realized due to lack of proper legal guarantees, effective mechanisms for practical promotion and enforcement.
The report says that the provisions of the domestic law and strategic documents are quite general and declaratory, which impedes their effective implementation and monitoring. In addition, the measures of state programs are identical in some cases and are not supported by the results of needs research.
The problems of access to physical environment, transport and work space are significant obstacles for persons with disabilities in terms of going to the office, fulfilling their duties and socializing with their colleagues. The economic benefit of the employment is very low, which, considering other additional barriers, makes it non-profitable. In addition, in case a person with disabilities is employed, his/her family may lose its state allowance, while in case a person with disabilities is employed in the public service, the person loses his/her social package.
According to the information available to the Public Defender, only 55 out of 46 708 people employed in the public sector are persons with disabilities. The number of people with disabilities employed in the private sector is also extremely low. In particular, the number of persons with disabilities employed within the state employment program was only 101 in 2017.
The fact that the number of persons with job seekers with disabilities involved in the programs is much higher than the number of the actually employed, shows that the problem of employment is not effectively resolved. It is also noteworthy that the measures aimed at monitoring the quality of the employment services under the state programs are not enough and persons with disabilities and/or their representative organizations are not involved in the process of monitoring and evaluating the programs.